World no. 2 Simona Halep is through to her third consecutive semi-final of the season, defeating a lucky loser Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-0 in swift 59 minutes. In her first tournament since the coronavirus outbreak, Simona had struggled in the first two rounds, beating Polona Hercog and Barbora Krejcikova to enter the quarters where she raised her level to spend only an hour on the court and preserve energy.
Frech reached the first quarter-final on the WTA level in Prague, having nothing left in the tank to challenge much higher-ranked rival. Simona struggled with a shoulder injury against Krajcikova, serving much better today and fending off two out three break chances to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.
Magdalena was far off that pace, giving away 65% of the points behind the initial shot and suffering six breaks from 12 chances offered to the Romanian. Halep created two break chances in the first game with a forehand winner, converting the first when Frech sprayed a forehand error to move in front.
The Pole responded with a break at 15 in game two following a forehand mistake from Simona, who left the setback behind to secure another break in game three with a forehand drive-volley winner. The Romanian confirmed the advantage with a nice hold, landing another forehand winner for a break in game five and a 4-1 lead.
The Pole survived two set points at 2-5, creating two break chances in game eight. Staying composed, Halep saved both with powerful hitting, seizing the fourth set point with a service winner for a 6-2. Carried by this momentum, Simona broke in the first game of the second set when Frech sprayed a forehand error, closing the second game with an unreturned serve and firing a forehand down the line winner for another break and a 6-2, 3-0 lead.
Simona Halep will play in the third consecutive semi-final of the season.
Controlling the course of the encounter, Halep placed a return winner that sent her 5-0 ahead, sealing the deal with a hold at love following a backhand winner that propelled her into the last four.
After the quarter-final loss in Adelaide to Aryne Sabalenka in straight sets, Simona played on a high level at the Australian Open, beating Jennifer Brady, Harriet Dart, Yulia Putintseva, Elise Mertens and Anett Kontaveit to reach the semis.
Battling hard against Garbine Muguruza, Simona experienced a tight loss in straight sets, returning to the court in Dubai in February. This time, Simona didn't p[roduce her best tennis, still overpowering four rivals to claim the first title of the season over Elena Rybakina in the deciding tie break.
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