Twelve months ago, Halep required a wildcard to gain entry in the main draw in Madrid, going on to lose a tight first round to Lourdes Domínguez Lino. Her meteoric ascent up the tennis ladder since then, though, has seem her firmly ensconce herself within the Top 10, whilst picking up prizes both on and off the court.
Her quarterfinal opponent, Ivanovic, is also enjoying herself on tour at the moment and is playing arguably the best tennis since 2008, when she topped the rankings and won her sole major, at the French Open.
The Turning Point
Ivanovic was in imperious form against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the last round and after breezing through the first few games, she looked set for another short afternoon's work. Halep, though, had other ideas, regrouping from an early break in stunning fashion by reeling off the next seven games.
It was a setback from which Ivanovic never really recovered as she became increasingly flustered by Halep's intelligent shot selection and effortless court coverage. A double fault handed Halep the lead in the second and a few games later she wrapped up victory when Ivanovic was unable to return another pin-point serve.
By The Numbers
After a bright start, Ivanovic soon became frustrated by her inability to pierce Halep's watertight defenses. In the end, the Serb struck just 14 winners while contributing to Halep's cause with 24 unforced errors.