Former champion Simona Halep back in Wimbledon semifinals

Simona Halep’s first Wimbledon appearance since winning the title three years ago is just as good as it did last time.

The 16th-seeded Romanian reached the semi-finals and extended her winning streak at the All England Club to 12 matches by defeating Amanda Anisimova 6-2 6-4 on Wednesday on Center Court.

Halep missed the chance to defend her Wimbledon title twice, first in 2020 when the tournament was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, and then again in 2021 when she had to sit down with a left calf injury.

“I’ve struggled a lot in the past year, and now I’m trying to rebuild my confidence again,” Halep said.

In the semi-finals, Halep will face Elena Rybakina. 17th seed Rybakina beat Agla Tomljanovic 4-6 6-2 6-3 on the first court.

Rybakina, a 23-year-old Kazakh, is playing at Wimbledon for only the second time in her career. I lost in the fourth round last year.

In the men’s quarterfinal, two-time champion Rafael Nadal was playing Taylor Fritz on Center Court while Nick Kyrgios faced Christian Garin on Court One.

Halep is making her tenth appearance at Wimbledon and has reached the semi-finals for the third time. She is the only remaining Grand Slam champion in the Women’s Championship.

“I’m very emotional now, because it means so much to be back in the semi-finals,” Halep said.

The match against Anisimova looked straightforward like her first four victories at this year’s tournament – all of them came in straight sets. But the 20th-ranked American broke Halep when she was serving in the match, 5-2.

Anisimova then earned three more break points when Halep served again for the match with a score of 5-4, but the Romanian won five straight points to end the match.

“She could crush the ball at the end, and I didn’t know, actually, what to do,” Halep said. “But I just believed in myself. I said I should stay there, strong on my legs.”

Halep injured her calf more than a year ago, forcing her to withdraw from the French Open and Wimbledon. She started working with Patrick Muratoglu, former coach of Serena Williams, in April.

In the other match, Rybakina dropped her first set of the grasscourt championship but broke her Australian opponent early in the second and third sets. She finished the match with 15 aces.

“Maybe I was nervous,” Rybakina said. “I played really well, she defended really well and just tried to focus on the serve to find my way and find it.”

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