Halep, Svitolina in quarter finals

This will be the second semifinal of the day, taking place at around 17:00 Paris time, and the victor will face unseeded Jelena Ostapenko or 30th seed Timea Bacsinszky in the final.

"Rafa could potentially win up to 15 times", Kuerten said about Nadal, who has dropped only 22 games in five matches so far. "Hit fast. Walk fast. It's just belief. I can not say much about the tactics because it's tough against her".

Halep will play Karolina Pliskova today after the second seed beat Caroline Garcia 7-6, 6-4 in the other quarter-final.

Pliskova, who arrived in Paris armed with just two career French Open wins, has made the semifinals at two of her last three Grand Slam tournaments after failing to survive the third round in 17 prior major appearances.

Also on the plus side of Halep's ledger: She's a former finalist, and her ability and willingness to get that proverbial "one more ball" back can pay big dividends against a tall, hard-serving player who prefers one-two-three knockout tennis.

There will be quite a contrast in styles Saturday at Court Philippe Chatrier.

She needed just an hour to coast to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.

Hsieh and Jana Cepelova of Slovakia fell to a 6-3, 6-2 loss to 14th seeds Svetlana Kuznetsova and Kristina Mladenovic in their second-round clash in Paris. The fifth-seed and 2014 finalist then fell behind 1-5 in the second set. She's not afraid of anything. "I was like, there is no chance I make the final here", she said with a smile. "She's a baby, but she's a lovely baby".

Bacsinszky - whose birthday was also Thursday; she turned 28 - employed all manner of strategies in a bid to throw off her opponent. She tried mixing speeds and angles and target spots.

Shaking it off, Svitolina lashed an inside-out forehand for match point at 6-5. "All of a sudden, the adventure comes to an end", she said. "I cry now or later?" I don't want to talk too much about this feeling, because I want to keep it.

Ostapenko may have lost in the first round last year and failed to make it out of qualifying a year earlier in Paris but that was largely down to her inexperience. A trainer taped up her leg; Bacsinszky took painkilling medicine.

Halep revealed she thought it was all over for her after a frightful start.

"In some moments", Ostapenko said, "I felt a little bit tight". "And I didn't realise during the match", admitted the world No4 during her press conference.

Ostapenko was on the upset bandwagon from the second round though, defeating Rio Olympics gold medalist Monica Puig in straight sets.

When Ostapenko held for 3-1 in a marathon fourth game of the third, the job was nearly done.

Working her way forward, Halep hopped into a backhand swing volley finishing with a flourish for a fourth set point.

  • Julie Sanders