Simona Halep romped through a set and three-quarters against Amanda Anisimova, and then suffered a major wobble, as the American staged a late come-back, before winning through to her 3rd Wimbledon semi-final after an hour and 3 minutes on the Centre Court.
I am definitely playing my best tennis [since winning the 2019 Wimbledon title]. Last year I struggled a lot and now I am just trying to build my confidence back. My tennis [is] here, and all I need to do, now, is to start to believe in myself. Simona Halep
The 2019 champion led 6-2, 5-1 and was serving for the match when she was broken for the first time, and the American powered her way to winning 11 straight points to almost levelling the second set.
It put a scare into the Romanian, who later said on court: “It’s great to be back in the semi-finals. I am very emotional right now because it means a lot.
“I played a tough opponent today, she could crush the ball in the end and I didn’t know actually what to do.
“But I just believed in myself and I said that I have to stay there, strong on my legs – they helped me today – and I believed until the end I can win.”
After Anisimova held serve to begin each set, Halep had won 5 straight games, twice, as the American struggled to find rhythm off the ground.
Then the match got complicated when Anisimova won 3 straight games with the loss of just 4 points, and in pursuit of a 4th, the American led 0-40 as Halep served for the match for a second time, but the former World No 1 steadied herself just in time, and won 5 points in a row to finally finish off the win in just 63 minutes.
“Love-40 down, I hit my serve,” said Halep of that final, very tight game. “I thought, if I could put the first one, it’s going to be easier, but also the second one, even if it’s a little bit slower, it worked today.
“Everything was good when it finished well,”
Halep got off to a blistering start by breaking just 3 games into the contest, producing some powerful ball-striking to force Anisimova into back-to-back forehand errors.
Then, 2 games later, she extended her lead further after yet more Anisimova errors, moving Halep to 4-1 up, and she took the opener after exactly 30 minutes of play with the help of a serve down the line.
It was much the same in the second, with Halep’s game simply overwhelming her error-stricken opponent, who looked growingly lost on the court.
Continuously looking up towards her player box out of frustration, it eventually all got too much for Anisimova, the World No 25, who began to cry during a changeover after going down 1-4 again.
The crowd tried to lift the American, who made a last ditch effort as Halep tried to serve out match, and she began to strike the ball more freely to retrieve one of the breaks before gradually gradually closing her deficit to 4-5.
After going through a period where 13 out of 16 points played went to her opponent, Halep eventually held her nerve to clinch the win.
The 16th seed hit fewer winners than her rival, 11 to 13, but the most telling factor was the unforced error count, with Halep’s tally of just 6 was more than 4 times less than that of Anisimova’s 28 miscues.
“I am definitely playing my best tennis [since winning the 2019 Wimbledon title],” she said. “Last year I struggled a lot and now I am just trying to build my confidence back.
“My tennis [is] here, and all I need to do, now, is to start to believe in myself.”
Halep extended her winning streak at Wimbledon to 12 matches, having lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish on her most recent previous appearance in 2019.
The win over Anisimova, her second in two weeks, improves the No 16 seed’s win/loss record in Grand Slam quarter-finals to 9-7.
Halep has, in fact, won the last 21 sets she has played at Wimbledon, and has yet to drop a set this fortnight.
In Thursday’s semi-finals, she will face No 17 seed Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who rallied for a 3-set win over Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.