Halep survives late Kasatkina onslaught

Third seed Simona Halep fended off a late challenge from Daria Kasatkina to reach the fourth round of Roland Garros in Saturday.

The Romanian, one of the hot favourites for the title in Paris, secured a 6-0, 7-5 victory to set up a clash with Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who defeated Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-4.

Kasatkina looked down and out after being blanked during the 28-minute first set, but she was much improved in the second and Halep had to be at her best to wrap up the contest.

The 20-year-old Russian fought back from 1-3 down to win four games in a row and put herself on the brink of leveling the scores at a set apiece.

But Halep saved a set point on Kasatkina's serve in the ninth game before going on to break, and then saved three more set points on her own serve in the next game as Kasatkina piled on the pressure – albeit in vain.

Halep was able to weather the storm, and another break handed her a 6-5 lead, allowing her to serve out the match with a minimum of fuss from there.

"It was a good match. I think I played really well the whole match, even if she has the 5-3 in the second set," Halep said. "I felt that I was pushing her back, and also I was rolling the ball pretty well. I think it was a very high standard of tennis today. Also, she played really well. I mean, she's a very tough opponent when I play her always.

"It's difficult even if I won the first set 6-0, I knew it's gonna be tougher, the second one. I'm really happy with the way I played today."

Halep would have been happy with the level of her play, hitting 25 winnners to only 13 unforced errors, although she knows the hard work only really starts now.

"[It's a] very nice feeling to be again in the second week. I had good matches, not easy at all. I played well, and the most important thing is that I'm playing better match by match. [It] gives me confidence for the next week, and also nerves, but better nerves this time.

"I'm not feeling pressure and I'm not feeling that I'm favorite. I just have confidence that I have my chance. I have the game to play till the end. But you never know in tennis. I will take match by match, and if I will be in the last match, then I will be very happy."

Earlier in the day, ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska was knocked out by Alize Cornet, going down 6-2, 6-1 in a surprisingly one-sided contest.

Others to reach the fourth round on Saturday included Caroline Wozniacki, who returned to win her rain-delayed match against Cici Bellis 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, and Caroline Garcia, who overcame Hsieh Su-wei 6-4, 4-6, 9-7.

Several scheduled third-round matches were postponed to Sunday after more rain brought an early end to the day's play.

All of Saturday's results

11-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) beat Catherine Bellis (U.S.) 6-2 2-6 6-3 
3-Simona Halep (Romania) beat 26-Daria Kasatkina (Russia) 6-0 7-5        
28-Caroline Garcia (France) beat Hsieh Su-Wei (Taiwan) 6-4 4-6 9-7       
21-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) beat 14-Elena Vesnina (Russia) 6-4 6-4   
Alize Cornet (France) beat 9-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) 6-2 6-1 

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