Simona Halep stormed into the Wimbledon semi-finals with a dominant win over Amanda Anisimova.
The 2019 champion broke Anisimova, 20, twice in each set on her way to a 6-2 6-4 victory on Centre Court in just over an hour.
Halep, who is now working with Serena Williams’ former coach Patrick Mouratoglou, will face Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals.
“It is great to be back in the semi-finals,” Halep said after holding off a late Anisimova rally to reach the last-four.
“I am very emotional right now – it means a lot. I played a tough opponent today, she can crush the ball and I didn’t know what to do. But I believed in myself, and I had to stay there strong on my legs – they helped me today.”
It did not take long for Halep to break. After a hold apiece, Anisimova erred at 30-40 with a forehand into the net.
The Romanian consolidated with a hold and then broke again in her opponent’s next game, controlling the pace well as an error-prone Anisimova, playing her first quarter-final at Wimbledon, struggled to assert her naturally aggressive style on the match.
A fifth game in a row followed as Halep moved within a game of the opening set. And though Anisimova halted the one-way traffic with a secure hold, a forehand pushed long by the American in Halep’s next service game ensured the first set would be the 16th seed’s.
The theme continued in the second. While Halep manipulated the court well, Anisimova could not settle into rhythm, continuing to battle for consistency on both forehand and backhand and failing to force Halep to regularly win points.
Visibly frustrated by her own profligacy, Anisimova was broken twice early in the second set, striking her racquet bag forcefully after another error handed Halep a three-game lead.
There appeared little hope for Anisimova as she fell 5-2 down, but Centre Court crowd united behind the American, who lifted her level with little to lose.
At last consistently landing her power strokes from the baseline, the 20-year-old denied Halep her first attempt at serving for the set and had three break points to further extend the match at 5-4 down.
But Halep did not fancy further prolongation of a match she had controlled, denying Anisimova a second break and punching the air in delight as her opponent pushed a down-the-line backhand a yard long.
It was the 28th unforced error of the match from the youngster, an untidy performance that stood in stark contrast to a composed showing from her opponent.
Halep, the 2019 champion, missed out on the chance to defend her title last year due to injury after the 2020 edition of the championships was cancelled due to Covid.
The Romanian has looked back to somewhere near her best on grass in recent weeks.
“I struggled a lot last year and I am just trying to build my confidence back,” Halep said, affirming that she felt she was playing her best tennis since taking her Wimbledon crown.
“I am starting to do that and it is good. The crowd gives me a lot of energy.”
Two-time major champion Halep will be competing in her first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2020 Australian Open.
The other semi-final is between Ons Jabeur and Tatjana Maria.