WTA Wimbledon: Simona Halep downs Shuai Zhang to reach semi-final

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WTA Wimbledon: Simona Halep downs Shuai Zhang to reach semi-final

The 7th seed Simona Halep is through to her seventh Grand Slam semi-final and the second at Wimbledon following a 7-6, 6-1 triumph over Shuai Zhang in an hour and 27 minutes. It is the best result for the Romanian at the All England Club since 2014, overcoming a slow start to steal the opening set and race towards the finish line in the second.

Zhang never scored a win at Wimbledon before this year and missed a chance to add the fifth one, wasting a 4-1 advantage in the first set and never looking like the same player in the rest of the encounter. Settling into a fine rhythm, Serena hit 17 winners and 13 unforced errors, leaving Zhang on a 22-29 ratio which wasn't enough at least for a set.

The Chinese grabbed one break from five opportunities and suffered three breaks of serve to propel Simona through, making the best possible start with a forehand winner in game two that secured a break for her. Facing an even bigger deficit, Halep fended off four break points in game six and that proved to be the turning point, gaining boost and breaking back in the next game after a costly double fault from Shuai.

Five powerful holds later, the rivals were in the tie break and Halep landed a forehand down the line winner to claim it 7-4 after 58 minutes. The Romanian served well in set number two and the pressure was on the other side of the net all the time, earning a break in the fourth game and moving closer to the finish line with another break in game six.

Serving for the place in the semis, Simona held at 30 with a forehand winner, taking the set 6-1 and staying on the title course. The Romanian will now face Elina Svitolina or Karolina Muchova and her chances of reaching the final at Wimbledon are better than ever, all that after a mediocre season in the first part of the year.