Simona Halep held on late but got through to her third career Wimbledon semifinal, easing past Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 6-4.
“I’m really happy to be back in semis here in Wimbledon. It’s one of my favorite tournaments, so it’s pretty special. It’s been a great match today, and I’m really pleased with the way I played,” said Halep.
“I think every match I got a little bit better. I had tough opponents, and I did what I had to do every day.”
Halep was rolling up 6-2, 5-1 but then the American caught a breeze and ran off three straight games, and had 3 break points on Halep’s serve to make it 5-all. But Halep stopped the rot and won the last five points to reach her ninth Grand Slam semifinal, first since the 2020 Australian.
“It was not easy at all because I feel like she played without thinking that she has something to lose, so every ball was really hard hit,” Halep said.
“But I refused that she’s going to come at 5-All. Even if I was 0-40, I was hard a little bit on myself. I pumped myself. I served very well. I believed I could finish the match 6-4. I really believed it.”
On Court 1, Elena Rybakina set the semifinal date with Halep rallying from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Tomljanovic couldn’t keep a strong opening set serving display going, and Rybakina, the 2022 ace leader, took over, hammering her 15th ace on match point to win.
Rybakina becomes the first man or woman from Kazakhstan to make a Grand Slam semifinal.
“I wasn’t in the greatest physical condition, didn’t have good preparation,” said Rybakina.
“But overall I think I did my best. It’s just for me still keep improving, working.”
The two met last year at the US Open and the lanky Rybakina lost in a tight 3-setter.
“I know she’s a big hitter. I played against her few times. I’m sure that she has a lot of confidence being in semis now here in Wimbledon,” Halep said.
“But it’s a new match, new challenge. I’m ready for it and I will try to give everything to take my chance. I feel ready to go. I feel good physically. Mentally, as well,” she said. “I’m just thinking that I have a very nice chance to play semis in Wimbledon.”
Said Rybakina of facing Halep, “It was very tough matches. I remember in Dubai I lost in the tiebreak, very close. At the US Open also, there I was a bit injured. In the end I just know that I have to play till the end because she’s great fighter. No matter the score, just keep focusing on my game, on my plan. Just be more stable and also confident in some moments.
“The key, of course, is my serve, aggressive game. She’s a great champion. She’s moving really well, reading the game. I just try to do my best, focus on things which I can control: my serve, my shots, emotions. No matter what’s happening, just to stay calm, keep playing point by point.”
Earlier on Thursday, World No. 2 Ons Jabeur will take on the surprising Tatjana Maria. The 103rd-ranked Maria had lost eight straight Grand Slam first rounds before Wimbledon.
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The Rybakina-Halep match was amazing to watch – the Kazakh seemed to overpower Simona, and not just with crushing serves. But Halep somehow never managed to find her A-game today, always defending, trying to figure out how to get a bit more time to hit her shots.
Elena has a real chance against Jabeur to win it all on Saturday!
July 7th, 2022 at 1:32 pm