Simona Halep demolishes Badosa to set up Wimbledon clash with Anisimova | Wimbledon 2022

In a tournament of upheaval, there has been a return to normalcy. For Simona Halep, back on center court for the first time since winning the title so brilliantly in 2019, her 6-1, 6-2 demolition of No. 4 seed Paula Badosa was a timely reminder of its quality. . This puts her in the quarter-finals for the fifth time and makes her the one to beat again.

Halep hit 17 winners and just nine unforced errors in a near-perfect display, one that only lasted an hour and sets up an intriguing encounter against American Amanda Anisimova, who followed her victory over Coco Gauff in knocking out Harmony Tan, the La Française who cheated on Serena Williams in the first round. If the path to a third Grand Slam title isn’t entirely clear, Halep will enter her match with Anisimova as the tournament favorite.

Badosa had only lost serve three times in their first three matches. Halep broke it five times, a relentless and brilliant performance. “I’m really happy with the way I’ve played this tournament so far,” she said. “Day after day, I look forward to the next one and do my best.”

His best is very, very good, as Badosa discovered. The Spaniard has rocketed up the rankings over the past year, winning the title in Indian Wells last October. Bold from the baseline, she edged out two-time champion Petra Kvitova in a high-quality match in the previous round. But from the moment Halep netted her a backhand to take a 2-1 lead, she was far second best.

Halep has come a long way in the past six months. At the beginning of the year, she considered hanging up her racquet, disenchanted with the sport and wondering if it was really worth working hard to get back to the top. A calf injury that saw her miss the French Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics in 2021 had shaken her confidence and she wasn’t sure she had enough in the tank to come back.

Amanda Anisimova attacks a backhand against Harmony Tan. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

But some good results in early 2022 gave Halep hope, then a trip to the Patrick Mouratoglou Academy in France proved to be the turning point. Her former trainer Darren Cahill had encouraged her to spend time there in the past but she always resisted. At the beginning of March, she took the plunge and went to train there, meeting Mouratoglou, getting to know him.

Mouratoglou, who helped Serena Williams win the last 10 of her 23 Grand Slam titles, was initially unavailable but after speaking to the American and finding her uncertain about her future, the Frenchman said that could coach Halep full time. She even moved to the south of France and since then has a new spring in her step.

As she battled her way to victory, Mouratoglou was busy standing tall, fist pumping in a familiar way. When he started coaching Halep, he said he thought she could start winning Grand Slam titles again. On the evidence of his performance against Badosa, it could happen even sooner than he might have expected.

However, Halep won’t take the win over Anisimova for granted. The American beat her at Roland Garros in 2019, when she was defending champion, and, although Halep has won both of their battles since, including a victory in Bad Homburg a few weeks ago, she knows that the American is in good shape and has a kind of easy power that makes her dangerous on all surfaces, but especially on the grass, where her shots are even more rewarded.

His 6-2, 6-3 win over Tan was just as impressive as his hard-fought win over Gauff in the previous round.

Alizé Cornet was unable to follow up her win over No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek, losing 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, who advanced to the quarter-finals of final for the second consecutive year. line. She will face No. 17 seed Elena Rybakina, who ousted Petra Martic of Croatia 7-5, 6-3.

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