WTA Simona Halep, Elena Rybakina advance to semis at Wimbledon


Simona Halep extended her sizzling run at Wimbledon, advancing to the semifinals courtesy of a 6-2, 6-4 victory on Wednesday over 20th-seeded Amanda Anisimova in London.

The 16th-seeded Romanian has won 12 straight matches and 21 consecutive sets at Wimbledon dating back to her journey to the 2019 championship. The event wasn’t held in 2020 due to COVID-19 and she missed the tournament last year because of a calf injury.

Halep won her final five points to win Wednesday’s match in 63 minutes. She punched her ticket to the semifinal round at Wimbledon for the third time in her career.

“Definitely, I’ve played the best tennis (since 2019),” Halep said in her on-court interview. “I struggled a lot last year and now I’m just trying to build my confidence back.

“(My) tennis is here, so I just have to believe. I’ve started to do that and it feels good.”

Halep, 30, is expected to face a stern test in 17th-seeded Elena Rybakina in Thursday’s semifinal match. She advanced to her first major semifinal — and became the first native of Kazakhstan to do so — after rallying to a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia. The Moscow-born Rybakina changed her nationality in 2018.

“It’s great to be back in the semifinals,” Halep said. “I’m very emotional right now because it means a lot to be back in the semis. I played a tough opponent today, she could crush the ball in the end.

“I didn’t know actually what to do, but I just believed in myself, I said I have to stay there strong on my legs — they helped me today — and I believed till the end that I can win.”

Rybakina, 23, recorded 15 aces and had 34 winners against 28 unforced errors to finish her match in 1 hour, 51 minutes.

“It is amazing. I am really happy to be into the semifinal. It was a really tough match,” Rybakina said. “I started a bit slow, I didn’t serve that well. … Maybe I was nervous. She played really well and was defending really good but I just tried to focus on my serve and try to find my way and in the end I found it.”

Tomljanovic, 29, was attempting to reach her first major semifinal.

It started off well for the 44th-ranked Tomljanovic, who conceded just five points on serve through the opening set.

Rybakina, however, turned the tables in the second set, turning a 2-2 game into a 3-0 advantage in the third. She pushed her to 5-2 before recording two service winners and two aces to end the match.

–Field Level Media


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