Romanian Simona Halep, the 2018 French Open champion, and American Danielle Collins are the latest big names to crash out of women’s singles at Roland Garros, with Halep admitting she suffered a panic attack during her shock loss to China’s Qinwen Zheng.
Most important points:
- Simona Halep called for medical personnel twice during the third set of her match against 19-year-old Chinese star Qinwen Zheng
- The two-time Grand Slam winner told media she suffered a rare panic attack from which she was unable to recover
- Halep is the latest big name to be bundled out of Roland Garros, with American Danielle Collins also losing on Friday
The two-time Grand Slam winner seemed to have her game under control on Friday, taking the opening set and continuing with a break.
However, after Zheng claimed the second set and began to dominate the third, Halep called the trainer and had her pulse and blood pressure taken.
The 30-year-old Romanian was given full clearance to continue but never looked comfortable against the 19-year-old, who struggled to catch his breath and asked doctors again before falling to a 2-6, 6-2, 6 – 1 loss.
Halep immediately left the court with medical personnel before returning to the media, where she admitted she had a panic attack during the match that she could not control.
“I played well in the beginning. I had a break in the second set, but then something happened. I just lost it,” she said.
“I did not expect [that] because it was just a panic attack.
Halep was cleared by medical staff afterwards and said it didn’t feel like a long-term problem.
“After the game it was quite tough, but now I’m good. I have recovered and I will learn from this episode,” she said.
“It’s just a tennis match, so I need to see it a little more relaxed. [I] I probably put too much pressure on myself because I really wanted to do it right.
“I felt good. I practice, I work hard. But it just didn’t happen and I probably panicked a bit during that thinking, overthinking.
“I knew I just had to calm down because the doctors checked everything. Everything was perfect. Not really a reason, just [in the] mind.”
Elsewhere, Australian Open finalist and ninth seed Danielle Collins was bundled out of the tournament by compatriot Shelby Rogers after a 6-4, 6-3 loss, while number eight seed Karolina Pliskova and number 13 seed Jelena Ostapenko also suffered shocking defeats.
So fast has the exit of the women’s top seeds been that only three of the top 10 are left: Iga Świątek (1), Paula Badosa (3) and Aryna Sabalenka (7).
Poland’s wiątek – the number one in the world and in the shape of her life – swept the USA’s Alison Riske 6-0, 6-2 to take her winning streak to 30 games.
It is the longest winning run in women’s tennis since Serena Williams won 34 in a row in 2013.
Spain’s Badosa reached the third round by beating Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, while Sabalenka only needed 62 minutes to defeat Madison Brengle 6-1, 6-3.
Madison Keys justified her number 22 position as she advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) win over Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.
The American, a semifinalist at Roland Garros in 2018, then takes on the number 16, Elena Rybakina, the only woman with more aces than Keys this season.
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