Simona Halep beat fellow WTA Rising Star Zarina Diyas to reach her first Wimbledon quarterfinal. Up next is someone who's been there many, many times...
WTA Staff

LONDON, England - Simona Halep stormed into her first Wimbledon quarterfinal on Tuesday, reeling off eight games in a row to beat fellow WTA Rising Star Zarina Diyas in the fourth round.

The Plot
After a disappointing grass court lead-up season - she won her first match in 's-Hertogenbosch but then retired in her second due to a back injury - Halep has been working her way back into top form throughout the Wimbledon fortnight, including digging out a three-setter in her second round match, and she had beaten Diyas in straight sets in their only previous meeting in Australia this year.

The Turning Point
And this one went very much the same. Halep broke at love in the third game of the match to go up 2-1, and after four holds of serve en route to 4-3, the No.3-seeded Halep broke away again, winning eight games in a row to clinch the first set and run away with the second set. The final score: 6-3, 6-0.

By The Numbers
Halep had clean, aggressive numbers - 17 winners to 9 unforced errors, while Diyas, who was playing the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time, seemed a little off with 9 winners to 21 unforced errors. Halep won almost twice as many points as her opponent during the match - 62 to 33.

Also, Halep is just the second Romanian woman ever to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, after WTA legend - and her manager - Virginia Ruzici, who was a quarterfinalist here in 1978 and 1981.

What's Next
Next up for Halep is No.19 seed Sabine Lisicki, who battled past Yaroslava Shvedova in a one-hour, 59-minute battle, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Lisicki won just two more points than Shvedova in the match, 93 to 91.

Lisicki might be the No.19 seed, but she's no stranger to deep runs here - in fact she has been to the quarterfinals or better here in her last five tries now (the quarterfinals in 2009, the semifinals in 2011, the quarters again in 2012, the final last year and at least the quarters again this year now).

Halep leads Lisicki in their head-to-head series, 2-1, with Lisicki winning their first meeting in straight sets in 2011 and Halep winning their last two in the last year and a half - in three sets.

Lisicki was asked in her press conference if falling in the final last year has motivated her to do even better this year - and motivated her to battle through this fourth rounder with Shvedova.

"That also helped me today, to be honest, to just push it through," Lisicki said. "I was fighting with all my heart. I couldn't really serve, but I was digging in there, and fighting for every single point.

"I love this place so much, and the crowd gave me such big support again. It really helps."

She was also told she has the most heartwarming smile of all the tennis players.

"Thank you," she replied. "It comes from within. I love what I do. I love playing tennis. I feel very fortunate to have my hobby as a job. So the crowd really helps me bring out the smile as well."