Second seed Simona Halep produced a spirited display to beat former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the quarter-finals at the US Open on Wednesday. The Romanian kept her nerves to topple the 20th seed in three sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Halep and Azarenka started the proceedings by breaking each other’s serve. The Romanian then managed to hold her serve to go up 2-1. In the next game, Azarenka saved three break points but failed to do the same on the fourth, losing her second successive serve and going down 1-3.
Halep then kept the advantage with till the end to win the opener 6-3. Azarenka came firing into the second set, grabbing first three games to race to a 3-0 lead. Halep finally had something on the scoreboard by holding her serve in the fourth game and then broke Azarenka’s following serve to reduce the trail to 2-3 but then again lost two consecutive games to go behind 2-5.
Halep fought back once again, winning the next two games to take the score to 4-5 but then again she could not consolidate, getting broken for the third time in the second set to lose it 4-6. After leveling the score at one set all, it looked like Azarenka would cruise to win the match as captured first two games of the decider but Halep broke back straightaway and held her own serve to level at 2-2.
The Romanian gained had the entire momentum with her after that, breaking the Belarusian in the seventh game and then consolidating on it to win the final set 6-4. Halep will now take on Italy's 26th seed Flavia Pennetta for a place in the final.