Imperious Halep marches into last eight
Simona Halep marched into the quarter-finals of the French Open with an emphatic victory over Elise Mertens.
The world number one dominated the 16th seed in the opening match on Court Philippe Chatrier on Monday, taking just 59 minutes to win 6-2 6-1.
Top seed Halep, eyeing her first grand slam title, ended Mertens' 13-match winning run with a ruthless thrashing in their only previous meeting in Madrid last month and dished out more punishment at Roland Garros.
Halep, runner-up for the second time in Paris last year, had a first-serve percentage of 75 and broke six times in a dominant performance, setting up a meeting with Angelique Kerber or Caroline Garcia.
A vibrant Halep applied the pressure in the third game to take an early break, coming up with a majestic forehand winner down the line before a stray forehand from the Belgian.
The sprightly Romanian served superbly and worked her opponent from side to side with powerful groundstrokes, breaking again to lead 5-2 after putting away a magnificent cross-court backhand.
Halep served out the set with no trouble at all and a struggling Mertens gifted her a break in the opening game of the second when she drilled a forehand volley into the tramlines.
The 2017 runner-up raced ahead and was just one game from victory when she broke to love, a bullied Mertens given the runaround before the 22-year-old lifted a backhand long at full stretch.
Belgian flags were flying when Mertens delayed the inevitable and avoided a bagel with a blistering backhand winner, but they were nowhere to be seen when a double fault put her out of her misery.
Halep  bt Mertens  6-2 6-1
Halep – 16/13
Mertens – 13/22
Halep – 1/1
Mertens – 1/4
BREAK POINTS WON
Halep – 6/9
Mertens – 1/2
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Halep – 75
Mertens – 56
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Halep – 63/70
Mertens – 48/28
Halep – 61
Mertens – 37