MELBOURNE, Australia - Former World No.1 Simona Halep is into the Australian Open semifinals without dropping a set after storming past No.28 seed Anett Kontaveit in a dominant performance, 6-1, 6-1.
Halep was in control from the start on Rod Laver Arena, winning 78% of points behind her first serve and breaking Kontaveit five times en route to a tidy victory in just 53 minutes.
“Perfection doesn't exist, but I'm very happy with the way I played,” Halep told press after the match.
“I felt great on court. I was moving great. I felt the ball, like, really, really good. It was a great match.”
Playing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, Kontaveit opened the match with a strong hold to love. But as her opponent started to find her rhythm Kontaveit found herself in trouble, with Halep breaking after a lengthy battle to take the lead at 2-1.
She kept applying the pressure against Kontaveit, tracking down every ball and returning it with interest and changing the rhythm with occasional drop shots. Kontaveit did well to fight off four break points in her next service game, but Halep eventually did earn the break and extended her lead to 4-1.
The reigning Wimbledon champion served out the set with confidence, breaking once more to close it out. She continued her romp into the second set, reeling off the first five games against an increasingly frustrated Kontaveit to lead 5-0 before serving out her spot in the semifinals.
Halep’s own serve wasn’t broken once during the 53-minute encounter, and she finished the match recording 12 winners including five aces and 10 unforced errors. Kontaveit fired 15 winners of her own, but they were offset by 15 unforced errors.
Near Perfect 👏@Simona_Halep remains undefeated against Kontaveit as she dominates 6-1 6-1 in a speedy 53 minutes to reach her second final four in Melbourne.#AO2020 | #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/vyoQgO2IUq— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2020
“Any Grand Slam, it's a priority,” Halep said. “I will not just choose one. But, of course, it's going to be great if I will be able to win one on hard court.”
“It's different in my mind,” she added. “It's not easier at all. You still feel the pressure. You still feel the heaviness of this tournament.
“I just feel more confident and I feel like I'm able to do it. It's just a feeling that you don't see this trophy is impossible anymore. This is what I'm feeling about the Grand Slams now.”
The Romanian now awaits the winner between the unseeded Garbine Muguruza and the No.30 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the next round. She seeks to return to the Australian Open final for the first time since 2018, when she fell to Caroline Wozniacki in the championship match.
“Tomorrow is going to be a tough one, I know that. I expect a very difficult match. But it's semifinals, so it should be like that,” Halep said.
“I'm all in. I'm confident.”