Two-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 Simona Halep will get a shot at revenge at Roland Garros this Friday, after she and Amanda Anisimova—the woman who took her out in the quarterfinals of her title defense last year—both won on Wednesday.
The No. 1-seeded Halep advanced to the third-round rematch after a 6-3, 6-4 win over Irina-Camelia Begu, dropping serve twice but breaking her countrywoman four times en route to victory.
"Well, it's never easy to play against a Romanian, and against Irina, we played so many times," Halep said. "She's a very strong opponent, the serve is really strong, and today the court was heavy so I couldn't return very well. But I managed well in the end and played the right game when I needed to."
She's now 13-0 in her tour-level career against fellow Romanians (which includes six wins over Begu).
"I think the best thing to do is that once I step on the court, I'm not thinking anymore about who I'm playing, even if they're Romanian or not," she said. "It's a little bit of a stress before the match, but I am confident, I know what I can play, and I know how I can play, so I didn't feel too nervous. I just feel nervous at the beginning, but then I just forget about who I'm playing and I just try to win the match."
The win also extended Halep's career-best winning streak to 16 matches in a row.
The No. 25-seeded Anisimova got off to a slow start in her match against Bernarda Pera, getting broken in the opening game. But she went on to win 12 of the next 13 games to completely run away with the contest, closing out the American left-hander after just 57 minutes, 6-2, 6-0.
Anisimova had beaten Germany's Tamara Korpatsch in the first round by the same score, in 59 minutes.
Halep and Anisimova's encounter in Paris last year, which remains their only previous meeting, defied all odds. The 17-year-old, No. 51-ranked Anisimova overpowered the No. 3-ranked defending champion in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. After Anisimova stormed out to a 6-2, 4-1 lead, Halep fought back to 4-all in the second set, and even held a break point to go up 5-4, before the American closed it out.
"Well, it's one year in between, so it's going to be a little bit tough to explain now how it's going to be," Halep said of the looming rematch. "But I'm going to talk with the coach. I know it's going to be tough because she's hitting the ball strong and flat, so it's going to be tough.
"I remember the match from last year. I also remember that I didn't play how I wanted, so I will do some changes, and I will just try to play better, and to take my chance."