(Reuters) – Facing two teenagers in as many rounds in the French Open has left Simona Halep feeling “old”, but the 27-year-old said the experience of being a Grand Slam winner can help her tackle youthful rivals, who show no fear.
Having dismantled 18-year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-1 6-0 in the last round, defending champion Halep faces a potentially tricky encounter against American Amanda Anisimova in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros on Wednesday.
While she may not like to be reminded of the 10-year age gap between Anisimova and herself, Halep is confident she can handle whatever the world number 51 throws at her.
“I feel old… very old. To play against someone 10 years younger than me, that’s not easy… they’re young, they have nothing to lose so every match is tough,” Halep said.
“When you face someone that is higher ranked than you, you don’t have, you know, fear. You just go and want to show your best tennis.
“So I feel like they have this feeling all the time when they play with someone better ranked. But also, I take my advantage and I say that I’m experienced. So we’ll see.”
Anisimova announced herself on the big stage in January by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open and won her maiden WTA title in Bogota in April.
She has moved into the last eight in Paris without dropping a set, scoring a comprehensive 6-3 6-0 win over Aliona Bolsova in the fourth round to set up a dream meeting with Halep.
“I can’t describe how excited I am. It’s amazing playing her. She won it the previous year. So honestly, I couldn’t ask for a better match,” Anisimova said.
“I’m just extremely happy and excited for the next round… I’m just gonna go out there… I have no pressure. Hopefully I can bring my best game.”
In the other quarter-final, American Madison Keys squares off against Ashleigh Barty.
In the men’s draw, top seed Novak Djokovic continues his quest to become the first man in the professional era to twice hold all four major titles simultaneously when he takes on Alexander Zverev.
Austrian fourth seed Dominic Thiem faces Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)