Magnificent Halep eases into first Wimbledon final

By Sports Desk July 11, 2019

Simona Halep produced a relentless display to beat Elina Svitolina in straight sets and become the first Romanian woman to reach a Wimbledon singles final.

Halep was outstanding in her second semi-final at the All England Club, cruising to a 6-1 6-3 victory in only an hour and 13 minutes on a warm Thursday.

WTA Finals champion Svitolina - playing her first major semi-final - was unable to live with the more aggressive seventh seed, who struck 26 winners and served magnificently to stand one win away from a second grand slam title.

The 2018 French Open champion, who said she had finally fallen in love with grass at SW19, will take on Serena Williams or Barbora Strycova in the final on Saturday.

Halep unleashed winners off both wings to save break points in the opening game and took a 2-0 lead courtesy of an unforced error from a nervy Svitolina.

The eighth seed responded with a break to love, but her serve was not firing and she was long with another groundstroke to give Halep the initiative once again.

Halep dictated the baseline rallies and mixed it up with deft drops shots, making a tentative Svitolina scurry frantically and putting away a majestic forehand winner to lead 5-1.

The former world number one needed six set points to wrap it up and Svitolina showed more belief in the second, which started with her first hold of the match.

Svitolina's serve was packing a punch, but the focused Halep earned a roar from the crowd when she showed great touch with a delicate cross-court forehand after charging to the net.

A stray forehand from Svitolina gave Halep the break for a 4-3 lead and the world number seven lost just one point on serve before breaking again to break new ground at the grass-court major.

Related items

  • Australian Open 2020: Pliskova, Svitolina crash out as Halep eases through Australian Open 2020: Pliskova, Svitolina crash out as Halep eases through

    Second seed Karolina Pliskova and fifth seed Elina Svitolina were high-profile casualties in the third round of the Australian Open on Saturday.

    Pliskova fell to a straight-sets defeat to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svitolina was soundly beaten by two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza.

    Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic were also sent packing, losing to Anett Kontaveit and Iga Swiatek respectively.

    There was no sign of a slip-up from former world number one Simona Halep, however, as she made serene progress to the next round by easing past Yulia Putintseva.

     

    PLISKOVA, SVITOLINA CRASH OUT

    After defending champion Naomi Osaka and 23-time grand slam winner Serena Williams were eliminated on Friday, Pliskova joined the star duo in dropping out of the tournament.

    Pliskova went down 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3) to 30th seed Pavlyuchenkova in the first match on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.

    "I think she was playing very well. Maybe the best she played against me so far in the last couple matches," Pliskova told reporters. "But let's say I was [at] about 40 per cent of my game, so of course then she can feel so much better if I just don't play enough [of] what I can play. 

    "That's how it is. I think especially [in] the important moments she always served well so I had a couple chances here and there. But I think she just played better than me."

    Svitolina did not fare much better as she lost to Muguruza in 67 minutes, the Spaniard - now ranked 32 in the world - hitting 31 winners to advance 6-1 6-2.

     

    BENCIC, VEKIC SENT PACKING

    It was another tough day for seeds as Bencic (6) and Vekic (19) failed to progress beyond the third round in Melbourne.

    US Open semi-finalist Bencic was swept aside in just 49 minutes, humbled 6-0 6-1 by 28th seed Kontaveit on Margaret Court Arena.

    "I think every grand slam there are seeded players losing, so I think this grand slam was even the best because no top-10 player lost in first round," she said in a news conference. "It's the same at every grand slam. There are upsets, and I think it's normal, because it's tennis, and tennis is very unpredictable."

    Kontaveit will face Swiatek after the 18-year-old stunned Vekic 7-5 6-3.

     

    HALEP, KERBER MOVE ON

    Halep thwarted in-form Putintseva 6-1 6-4 to move through to the second week of the slam for a third consecutive year.

    Fourth seed Halep - runner-up in Melbourne two years ago - needed one hour, 18 minutes to progress to the fourth round.

    Away from Rod Laver Arena, 2016 champion Angelique Kerber ground out a 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 victory over Italian Camila Giorgi.

    Kerber was pushed but the three-time major winner clinched a spot in the fourth round for the fifth successive season after two hours, eight minutes.

     

    MERTENS AND BERTENS ADVANCE

    Next up for Halep is 16th seed Elise Mertens, who required three sets to overcome CiCi Bellis.

    Mertens was two points from victory in the second set after taking a 5-4 lead in the tiebreak but failed to close it out. However, she managed to keep her run alive by reeling off the next six games in succession.

    The 2018 semi-finalist breezed through the final set to wrap up a 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-0 victory in just under two hours.

    Joining Mertens in the next round was Dutch ninth seed Kiki Bertens, who made the second week of the Australian Open for the first time.

    Bertens claimed a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) victory over Zarina Diyas and has a meeting with Svitolina's conqueror Muguruza to look forward to.

  • Australian Open 2020: Kyrgios comes through five-setter to book Nadal clash Australian Open 2020: Kyrgios comes through five-setter to book Nadal clash

    Nick Kyrgios emerged triumphant in a dramatic five-set clash with Karen Khachanov despite struggling with a hamstring injury, booking a highly anticipated meeting with Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

    After passing up match points in the third and fourth sets, home favourite Kyrgios came out on top in the longest match of his career by beating Khachanov 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) at a raucous Melbourne Arena in four hours, 26 minutes.

    Top seed Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-2 6-4 in one hour, 38 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, while US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-4 6-3 6-2 and will face Stan Wawrinka in the last 16.

    The Swiss advanced after John Isner retired while 6-4 4-1 down, with Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Gael Monfils joining him in round round four.

     

    CROCKED KYRGIOS CLINGS ON

    Kyrgios started confidently against Khachanov and, despite taking a medical time-out at 5-2 up in the first set, managed to edge a second-set tie-break while continuing to grip at the back of his leg.

    However, he was unable to repeat the trick at the second time of asking and became increasingly frustrated as the Russian wrested control of the match away from him.

    Kyrgios appeared to be struggling for motivation at points and became increasingly vocal, but he hung in to take the victory to the delight of his fervent supporters.

    The Australian has a strained relationship with Nadal, who he described as "salty" after their meeting at last year's Mexican Open and impersonated after being called for a time violation while serving against Gilles Simon in round two.

    Asked about going up against the 19-time major champion in his on-court interview, Kyrgios said: "Whatever happened between us he's an amazing player. I'm not even thinking about that right now, I'm thinking about my legs and getting them in an ice bath and getting some food."

     

    NO STOPPING NADAL

    Nadal was at his imperious best against Carreno Busta, winning 87 per cent and 78 per cent of points behind his first and second serve respectively, while also smashing 41 winners – twice as many as his opponent.

    "It was my best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt. Big difference between today and the previous days. I have been serving well, starting to create damage with the forehand," said Nadal.

    "Every day is a different story. But, of course, it's important to make steps forward. It's clear that today I made an important one."

    Asked if he likes Kyrgios, Nadal said: "I don't know. I don't know him personally, honestly, to have a clear opinion."

     

    RUBLEV ROLLS ON

    Rublev started 2020 with titles at the Qatar Open and Brisbane International and has continued his fine form at Melbourne Park.

    The world number 16's 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) triumph over David Goffin was his 15th match win in succession, four of which came in the Davis Cup Finals.

    Rublev had wobbles after taking big leads in both tie-breaks, but Goffin made 27 unforced errors in the last two sets to help the Russian progress to a meeting with Zverev.

    Seventh seed Zverev is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park after overcoming Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-2 6-4.

     

    "IT'S A DISGRACE"

    After beating qualifier Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3 to set up a fourth-round meeting with Dominic Thiem – who overcame 29th seed Taylor Fritz 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 – Monfils refuted a report claiming excessively playing video games led to him suffering a hand injury.

    "You know, as I say, it's misunderstanding with people. I say this in a funny way, to be honest, but it's a disgrace, to be honest with you, because I'm fine," Monfils told reporters in a news conference.

    "I'm in the second week, playing great tennis. I think it's just someone who, I don't know, try to — you know, I played ATP Cup, was fine. I practiced here for one month. I was really fine.

    "I never said I was hurt. Somehow, you know, playing PlayStation, this? Come on. And it's easy, because I think I'm a good name to make up good story like that. Now you know."

  • Australian Open 2020: Monfils denies too much PlayStation behind hand injury Australian Open 2020: Monfils denies too much PlayStation behind hand injury

    Gael Monfils refuted a report claiming too much PlayStation was behind a hand injury after the French 10th seed progressed at the Australian Open.  

    Monfils showed no sign of injury as he moved through to the fourth round at Melbourne Park thanks to Saturday's 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3 victory over qualifier Ernests Gulbis.

    Afterwards, Monfils was asked about his hand and fitness following a report citing video games, and the 33-year-old entertainer took aim at the media.

    "You know, as I say, it's misunderstanding with people. I say this in a funny way, to be honest, but it's a disgrace, to be honest with you, because I'm fine," Monfils told reporters in a news conference.

    "I'm in the second week, playing great tennis. I think it's just someone who, I don't know, try to — you know, I played ATP Cup, was fine. I practiced here for one month. I was really fine.

    "I never said I was hurt. Somehow, you know, playing PlayStation, this? Come on. And it's easy, because I think I'm a good name to make up good story like that. Now you know."

    Monfils will face fifth seed Dominic Thiem for a place in the Australian Open quarter-finals for the second time in his career.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.