World no. 2 Simona Halep will compete in her third quarter-final of the season, beating a lucky loser Magdalena Frech 6-2, 6-0 in under an hour. Competing for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, the Romanian couldn't find her rhythm in the opening two rounds, barely beating Polona Hercog and struggling in the first couple of sets against Barbora Krejcikova.
Frech reached the first quarter-final on the WTA level in Prague, having nothing left in the tank to challenge the Wimbledon champion. Simona had some shoulder issues 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 from that level, giving away 65% of the points behind the initial shot and getting broken six times from 12 chances offered to the Romanian. Halep earned two break chances in the first game with a forehand winner, converting the first when the Pole sprayed a forehand error to move in front.
Magdalena responded with a break at 15 in game two following a forehand mistake from Simona, hoping for more of the same on the return in the rest of the encounter. Halep left the setback behind, though, securing 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 and a 4-1 lead. The Pole survived two set points at 2-5, creating two break chances in game eight that could have extended the set for her.
Staying composed, Halep saved both with powerful hitting, seizing the fourth set point with a service winner for a 6-2.
Simona Halep competed on a high level to reach the semi-final in Prague.
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 advantage.
Controlling the course of the encounter, Halep placed a return winner that pushed her 5-0 ahead, sealing the deal with a hold at love following a backhand winner that propelled her into the last four. "The whole game was better today.
I'm happy that I can play better and better day by day. It was a good one and I'll take it. It was not easy for her, as she played a tough match yesterday. I think I hit the ball stronger, opening the court better and finishing some drive volleys.
It was good because the ball was coming a little bit softer than yesterday against Krejcikova, so I just had to go there and be aggressive. Both of them are excellent players, and the semi-finals are always tough. I'm here to give my best, fight until the end, and try to win the match," Simona Halep said.