Pre-tournament favourite Simona Halep survived a brief scare in her third round match against young pretender Daria Kasatkina in a Roland Garros rollercoaster on Saturday, winning 6-0 7-5 after initially threatening to brush past the 20-year-old Russian with ease.
Kasatkina began tentatively against the Romanian third seed in what looked like a case of big-match nerves.
Hitting powerfully on both wings from the back of the court, Halep romped through the first set in 30 minutes and led 3-1 in the second.
Kasatkina second set fightback
The 20-year-old Russian then sparked into life, winning the next four games and holding three set points in the 10th game before Halep edged through, closing out the match with a net chord that Kasatkina failed to return.
"I played really well at the beginning," Halep, who won the Madrid title and reached the Rome final in the run up to Roland Garros, said courtside.
Halep: "She's a really tough opponent"
"She was coming back really strongly and I think my energy went a bit down... She's a really tough opponent."
Halep will face Spain's Carla Suárez Navarro for a place in the quarter-finals after the 21st seed saw off Russia’s Elena Vesnina in straight sets.