PARIS, France -- No.5 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands made a long-awaited return to the round of 16 at Roland Garros after ousting Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-2, on Friday.
The Dutchwoman has excelled on clay over the past few years, winning six of her 10 WTA singles titles on that surface, including her biggest title to date at Madrid. Yet, Bertens had not passed the third round at Roland Garros since her career-breakthrough run to the semifinals in 2016.
At last, World No.8 Bertens is back into the second week in Paris following her 58-minute win over 61st-ranked Siniakova, improving her head-to-head record against the Czech to 2-1 (2-0 on clay).
"It's always special I think when you reach the second week of a Grand Slam," Bertens said, during her post-match press conference. "It didn't happen too much with me yet. I'm just happy, happy to be here still. I'm just hungry for more."
No.5 seed Kiki Bertens is into the Round of 16 @rolandgarros for the 1st time since her semifinal run in 2016.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) October 2, 2020
Clean and clinical performance to defeat Katerina Siniakova 62 62. Will face either Sakkari or Trevisan. #RG20 pic.twitter.com/DZfgF8KQGC
Bertens had a much more straightforward win than in her previous match, where she outlasted Sara Errani in a grueling three-hour and 11-minute thriller, saving a match point in the process. Against Siniakova, the Dutch player converted five of her seven break points, and had 18 winners to 13 unforced errors.
"I was still little bit stiff, of course, from two days ago," said Bertens. "But I was just focusing on every point, just being ready."
"I think that was pretty important today, to not have a really long match," added Bertens, who played her match with Siniakova under the roof on Court Philippe Chatrier. "I think the conditions were good for me today."
Siniakova's most recent Top 10 win came in the same round of the same event last year, when she upset Naomi Osaka to reach the fourth round at 2019 Roland Garros. The Czech was unable to repeat the feat on Friday, with 26 unforced errors well outpacing her ten winners.
In the round of 16, Bertens will face either No.20 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece or Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan.
"I'm just going to prepare as good as I can, yeah, then we'll see again on Sunday," said Bertens.
After an exchange of breaks in the opening games, Bertens had to survive a break point at 1-1, erasing that chance after she followed up a solid serve with a winning dropshot. The Dutchwoman would go on to eke out that hold, keeping herself in front.
Bertens’ early lead became key when she raced to triple break point at 3-2, claiming the lead on the second of that trio following a Siniakova double fault. As the set progressed, the rallies were routinely elongated but Bertens came out on top on a majority of them, holding on for 5-2.
Staring down the deficit, Siniakova was unable to prolong the opening frame, dropping serve at love to cede the one-set lead. In short, Bertens was impenetrable on serve in the first set after being broken in the very first game, eventually winning 22 of her 27 first-serve points during that timeframe.
Bertens took an early lead in the second set as well, going up 2-0 after Siniakova double faulted while down break point for the second time on the day. The Dutchwoman was in full flight by this point, knocking off volleys for a 3-0 lead, then using her highly admired first serve to hold for 4-1 by slamming an ace on game point.
Leading 5-2, Bertens started that game by forcing an error with a perfectly executed lob, and two points later, the fifth seed was at triple match point. On her second match point, Bertens closed out the victory, romping into the second week of Roland Garros after a final forehand was sent wide by Siniakova.