Former champion Simona Halep will once again play for a berth in the Wimbledon final. The 2019 winner, seeded No.16 this year, ran her personal winning streak at the Championships to 12 with a 6-2, 6-4 win over No.20 seed Amanda Anisimova in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
Halep hadn't set foot on court at the All-England Club since she hoisted the trophy in 2019, as the 2020 Championships were canceled and she was forced to withdraw last year due to a calf injury. Her return to the site of her second career major title been stellar: She hasn't lost a set in five matches so far, losing just 28 games in 10 sets.
Halep has, in fact, won the last 21 sets she's played at Wimbledon. In Thursday's semifinals, she'll face No.17 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who rallied for a three-set win over Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic.
Match management: Wednesday's quarterfinal match began nearly identical in scoreline to the pair's last meeting, won by Halep just last week on grass in Bad Homburg, Germany by a 6-2, 6-1 final score. After Anisimova held serve to begin each set, Halep won five straight games twice as the American struggled to find rhythm off the ground.
But from 6-2, 5-1 ahead, the match grew complicated. Anisimova won three straight games with the loss of just four points, and in pursuit of a fourth, the American led 0-40 as Halep served for the match a second time; however, Halep won five points in a row to finally finish off the win in 63 minutes.
"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."
Semifinal outlook: Halep and Rybakina have played three previous times, including two classic three-setters won by Halep. In 2020, Halep won one of the best matches of the season to beat Rybakina and win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, and she also beat her in a tense three-setter last year at the US Open.
"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. ... I'm just thinking that I have a very nice chance to play semis in Wimbledon."