PARIS, France -- No.1 seed Simona Halep of Romania exacted a measure of revenge on Friday, dispatching No.25 seed Amanda Anisimova of the United States, 6-0, 6-1, to reach the fourth round of Roland Garros.
"I enjoy a lot being back, and to be in this period, when it actually was my birthday few days ago, to be in Paris, my favorite city, it is very nice," Halep said, during her post-match press conference. "I try to give my best, I try to enjoy the maximum."
2018 champion Halep saw her title defense come to a stunning end at the hands of Anisimova in straight sets in last year’s quarterfinals, but the World No.2 had no such issues with the American teenager this time around as she claimed a comprehensive 54-minute victory, leveling their head-to-head at 1-1.
"I took the game in my hands," said Halep. "Last year, I was very far from the court, and I played fairly short so [Anisimova] could play her game. When she has time and she has the ball in the right position, she is very, very dangerous and she plays great. So today I think I did a great job changing a little bit the tactic."
"Definitely, she's very young, so she has so many years ahead," Halep said of Anisimova. "She's a great player, and she will be in the top very soon."
The win continues a stirring undefeated run for Halep since prior to the tennis hiatus -- the Romanian has now won a career-best 17 straight matches, which includes a title run at Dubai before the stoppage in play, and titles in Prague and Rome since the tour restart.
Halep had 15 winners to just seven unforced errors in the affair, and after facing -- and saving -- five break points in the second game of the encounter, she never faced another one all day. The top seed won 77 percent of points off of her first serve as she improved her career win-loss record in Grand Slam third-round matches to 18-3.
Anisimova, meanwhile, was undone by 32 unforced errors, well outpacing her 18 winners. The American, who pushed eventual champion Ashleigh Barty to three tight sets in last year's Roland Garros semifinals, was unable to replicate the form which saw her drop only four games total in her first two matches this week.
Next up in the round of 16, Halep will face another teenager, and another of her opponents from last year’s Roland Garros: Iga Swiatek of Poland, who defeated Eugenie Bouchard earlier on Friday.
Halep and Swiatek met in the same round last year in Paris, where the Romanian claimed a straightforward 6-1, 6-0 victory, in the match before she fell to Anisimova.
Anisimova started the match off inauspiciously, double faulting on break point in the first game to drop serve. However, the 19-year-old American had immediate chances to get back on serve in the following game, as her sturdy hitting and solid returns helped her along to garner five break points in an effort to pull to 1-1.
Halep, though, methodically fended each and every one of those chances off, using the depth and accuracy from her groundstrokes when she needed to most. On her second game point in that protracted battle, the Romanian extracted a long return from Anisimova, and the top seed earned a key hold for 2-0.
"It's very important, because 1-1 is not the same like 2-0," said Halep. "So I knew it's really important to hold my serve at the beginning, because as I said, she's a very difficult opponent and she's very strong with the shots. So it was really important to stay there for every ball and to not leave any moment away from my game."
From there, Halep rolled through the opening frame, breaking Anisimova twice more in succession while never facing another break point in the set. Serving for the set at 5-0, Halep won a long 15-30 point by turning defense into offense, then sending Anisimova side to side before putting away the forehand winner.
An ace followed to queue up set point, which she converted after a netted return by the American. Overall, Halep won 71 percent of points against the Anisimova service in the opening set.
Anisimova at last got on the scoreboard with a tough hold for 1-0, but that would prove to be the only saving grace for the American between two six-game streaks by the top seed. Halep continued to fire the ball near the lines of every portion of the court, drawing errors from Anisimova as the Romanian built a commanding 4-1 lead.
A love hold for 5-1 put Halep in complete control, though Anisimova used strong forehands to give herself a game point and a chance to force Halep to serve out the match. Halep, though, cracked sturdy forehands throughout the rest of the game, garnering two match points in the process. On the second, the Romanian forced a wide error from Anisimova, claiming the quick win.