Former champion Simona Halep sets up Wimbledon semi-final clash with Elena Rybakina

Romanian makes it 12 wins in a row at the All England Club after beating Anisimova , while Kazakh comes from set down to beat Tomljanovic

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Former champion Simona Halep sealed her place in the semi-finals of Wimbledon after an impressive straight-sets win over American Amanda Anisimova on Wednesday.

The Romanian followed up her demolition job of fourth seed Paula Badosa in the previous round by swatting aside Anisimova – seeded 20th – 6-2, 6-4 on Centre Court. Halep, 30, extended her winning streak at the All England Club to 12 matches.

The 16th seed will now take on Elena Rybakina in the last four after the Kazakh came from a set down to defeat Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Former world No 1 Halep triumphed in SW19 three years ago but has endured a rocky time since and failed to defend her title in 2021 due to a calf injury.

Form and fitness have been hard to come by for the Romanian, who suffered a panic attack at the French Open in May to highlight her continuing struggles.

Grass has always been good to Halep, though, and the confidence appears to be flowing once again after a convincing triumph over a player 10 years her junior.

“It's great to be back in the semi-finals,” said Halep. “I'm very emotional right now. It means a lot. I played a tough opponent today – she could crunch the ball in the end.

“I had to stay strong on my legs – they helped me today. I also needed my serve – everything was good, and it finished well.”

When asked if she playing her best tennis since winning in 2019, Halep added: “Definitely this is my best tennis. I am trying to build my confidence back, and it's good.”

Russian-born Rybakina, who switched international allegiance to Kazakhstan in 2018, produced a fine display to make the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

The first set was close but swung on the third game when, after five deuces, Tomljanovic broke before serving strongly to take it 6-4.

Rybakina, 23, broke early in the second and though Tomljanovic’s athletic court coverage enabled her to hit straight back, the tall Kazak then took total command, breaking to love to win the second on the back of 11 straight points.

Rybakina, who took her tournament ace tally into the 40s with another 15, cranked up the pressure in the decider, taking a 3-0 lead after winning seven games in a row, and breaking again for 5-1.

Although her progress was briefly held up, she served out brilliantly and fittingly finished the match with an ace.

“I really want to say thanks to the people who came to watch us and support us. It was really nice, amazing atmosphere,” said 17th seed Rybakina, who becomes the first Kazakh – male or female – to reach the semi-final of a Slam.

“It is amazing. I am really happy to be into the semi-final. It was a really tough match.

“I started a bit slow, I didn't serve that well. Maybe I was nervous. She played really well and was defending really good but I just tried to focus on my serve and try to find my way and in the end I found it.”

Updated: July 07, 2022, 3:53 AM
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