Simona Halep is now the highest seed remaining in the Wimbledon draw and a strong possibility to earn her third different slam final, with just Shuai Zhang and either Elina Svitolina or Karolina Muchova in the way of her and a Centre Court appearance on Saturday.
Halep has thrived in the somewhat slower conditions on the show courts, dropping just one set on her way to the last eight. She followed up her crushing win over Victoria Azarenka by ending the dream run of Cori Gauff. The American had all the hype coming in but was outplayed by Halep, who exposed some of the weaknesses in the youngster’s game. She hit 17 winners in the 6-3 6-3 win, breaking five times overall. “I try to motivate myself to show myself that I’m still there, I’m still strong to beat these opponents, even if they play without fear, without emotions. They have nothing to lose, of course. It’s a nice challenge, honestly.” Halep said afterwards.
Zhang is one of two huge surprises in the quarter finals but it has been a well earned spot in the last 8 for her. After outplaying Caroline Wozniacki in round three, she picked up a great win over Dayana Yastremska. The aggressive nature of the Ukranian did not pay off in this matchup, with 44 unforced errors helping Zhang on her way to a 6-4 1-6 6-2 win. “Before the first win, first round, I never think I can make quarterfinal here, because before this year I never win any match singles here,” Zhang said. “I just try my best, because every opponent very strong. And also, they played really well before at Wimbledon – [it’s been] an amazing week for me.”
Halep will be the heavy favourite going into this one but will have to ensure she can deal with the increased expectations. With a spot in the final of the French Open looking highly likely, she blew it at this stage against Amanda Anisimova. That should be enough to focus her mind, going into a match with an opponent she has lost her last two matches against.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets