Sunday 21 January 2018

Simona Halep crushes last year's finalist Sabine Lisicki to set up semi with Eugenie Bouchard at SW19

Simona Halep plays a forehand return during her Ladies' Singles quarter-final match against Sabine Lisicki
Simona Halep plays a forehand return during her Ladies' Singles quarter-final match against Sabine Lisicki

Simona Halep's remarkable run continued as she crushed Wimbledon specialist Sabine Lisicki to reach her first semi-final at the All England Club.

This time last year, Halep had not been past the second round at a grand slam but she made the quarter-finals in Australia, pushed Maria Sharapova all the way in a terrific French Open final and is a real contender for a first title here.

Lisicki, beaten by Marion Bartoli in last year's final, always reserves her best form for Wimbledon but after a great start the match went away from her very quickly as third seed Halep triumphed 6-4 6-0. Eugenie Bouchard awaits her in the final four.

In her third-round win over Yaroslava Shvedova, Lisicki had taken a controversial medical time-out at break point down early in the third set for treatment to her shoulder.

There was no sign of any physical trouble for the German on Centre Court as she opened up a 4-1 lead but, once Halep adjusted to the pace of the match, the Romanian began to turn things around.

She broke back in the seventh game and clinched the set, and her fifth game in a row, with a forehand winner.

Things might have been different had Lisicki taken one of several chances to hold serve at the start of the second set but she did not and from there Halep raced to victory.

The 22-year-old won the final 11 games of the match and needed just 57 minutes to make the last four.

She said: "It was a good match. I had a slow start today and she had 4-1, but I came back very well.

"I played my best tennis and I was enjoying every moment, it was incredible on Centre Court. I'm really happy I could win in two sets because tomorrow I want to be ready to have a good match again."

Halep is the highest seed left in the tournament, which was opened up further by Sharapova's exit on Tuesday.

Halep insisted she is not worried by the expectations on her shoulders, saying: "It was the same at the French Open, so now I have experience. I don't have pressure, just want to enjoy it and play the best that I can."

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