Halep in a hurry, leaves Suarez Navarro no chance
Simona Halep raced into the quarter-finals of the French Open on Monday, demolishing Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-1 in a 60-minute masterclass on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The Romanian, a beaten finalist against Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros in 2014, can secure both her first grand slam singles crown and the world number one ranking if she can reach and win the decider this Saturday.
Elina Svitolina or Petra Martic will hope to prove more of an obstacle in the last eight after world number 23 Suarez Navarro, a two-time quarter-finalist in Paris, found herself totally outclassed by a near-flawless performance from the third seed, who offered no visible indication of still being afflicted by the ankle injury she suffered in Rome last month.
All the talk in the French capital has been of Novak Djokovic's new working relationship with Andre Agassi, and the American's former mentor Darren Cahill, who began working with Halep in 2015, could see his recent work come to fruition if the 25-year-old can produce similar quality to this showing in the coming days.
She recovered well from a slow start to the second week of the tournament, saving two break points and holding in the first service game of the match, tempting a succession of wide forehand errors from Suarez Navarro.
That proved to be a fatal missed opportunity for the Spaniard, who proved unable to cope with the Romanian's control of rallies and punishing cross-court forehand, the 21st seed holding just once in the set as Halep sealed it with a punched backhand that her opponent could not dig out.
Suarez Navarro gave herself some hope by breaking as Halep's first serve temporarily deserted her early in the second set, but she promptly gave the break straight back, framing a backhand way off target after Halep had mercilessly dispatched a lobbed return into empty court to bring up the advantage.
The Romanian did not look back from there, holding to love to consolidate and then securing the double break by forcing yet another rally ball error from the beleaguered figure on the other side of the net.
The futility of the task facing Suarez Navarro was encapsulated in the first point of the next game. The Spaniard did well to somehow return a perfectly weighted Halep forehand down the line, only to see the ball come back past her in the form of a devastating cross-court backhand passing shot, the world number four holding yet again.
It was not all about the power, though, Halep coming to the net and producing a delicate drop shot to bring up advantage, break point and match point, grasping it as the overwhelmed Suarez Navarro netted to seal her inevitable fate.
Halep  bt Suarez Navarro  6-1 6-1
Halep - 19/20
Suarez Navarro - 5/25
Halep - 0/2
Suarez Navarro - 0/1
BREAK POINTS WON
Halep - 6/7
Suarez Navarro - 1/6
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Halep - 77
Suarez Navarro - 75
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Halep - 68/42
Suarez Navarro - 39/27
Halep - 60
Suarez Navarro - 36