RG day 11 diary and highlights: Halep saved match point and didn't even know it

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Back from the brink: Simona Halep.

    It was a point we will all never forget.

    Simona Halep blasted one backhand down-the-line, changed direction to fire a forehand down-the-line, then finished off with a backhand down-the-line, sending Elina Svitolina left and right late in the second-set tiebreak.

    Sounds like a cool point, big deal! Yes, it actually is a big deal because Halep saved a match point with that insane combination.

    Had she missed any of those attempts, she would be out of the tournament. Instead, that match point save helped her complete an unthinkable comeback from 3-6, 1-5 down against Svitolina, as Halep went on to win the match 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-0 and reach her second Roland Garros semi-final.

    The best part of it all is that Halep didn’t even notice she was saving a match point.

    “I didn’t realise. I watched after, when I was stretching, on Twitter a little bit. And the backhand down-the-line at match point, I was, like, was match point for her? And I didn’t realise during the match,” admitted the world No4 during her press conference.

    That is just unbelievable and explains a lot. Maybe they should hide the scoreboard from Halep during all her matches then.

    Asked how she turned the match around after falling behind with such a huge deficit, the Romanian 2014 runner-up said: “My ball was not going as long as I wanted, but she was dominating the match. I just sat down at 5-2. I said that the match is lost. So I did nothing to change something, to change the rhythm, that’s it. It’s over.

    “And then I started to feel more relaxed maybe because I thought it’s finished, and I change the rhythm. I put some high balls. I just tried to make her move more, to open the court, and it came. I don’t know how, but it was really good.”

    She now faces No2 seed Karolina Pliskova, who has been surprising herself and everyone for that matter by making it this far on a surface she doesn’t like and playing less than ideal tennis. Before 2017, Pliskova had only won two main draw matches at Roland Garros. Now she’s in the semi-finals and she and Halep can fight for the No1 ranking as well as a spot in the title match.

    Here are the possible scenarios:

    • Halep will be No3 with a semi-final finish, No2 as runner-up or No1 with the title

    • Pliskova will be No.3 with a semi-final finish, or No1 by reaching the final

    • Kerber will be No1 or No2 after Roland Garros

    Here are the highlights from a busy day 11 at Roland Garros…

    Point of the day

    Quotes of the day

    “The world is not spinning only around me. I’m grateful for the attention, but there are many other players that deserve that, as well.”
    — Novak Djokovic after his straight-sets loss to Dominic Thiem

    “Coming into this tournament, there were a few people who told me, ‘You have to be in the final to be No1’. I was, like, ‘there is no chance I make final here’.”
    — Pliskova, who is now one match win away from the world No1 ranking

    “I told him, ‘Don’t hit me, because everyone is watching’.”
    — Halep on her conversation with Ion Tiriac after winning her quarter-final by saving a match point

    Stats of the day

    1 – Thiem claimed his first top-10 win at a Grand Slam with his three-set drubbing of Djokovic on Wednesday.

    2 – This was just the second time Djokovic has been bageled in the final set in 985 career matches.

    325 – consecutive weeks Djokovic has been ranked inside the top-two in the world. He will drop out of top-two on Monday for the first time since March 2011.

    Feast your eyes on these stats to preview the women’s semi-finals: