Simona Halep will look to continue her tear of the grass courts on Thursday afternoon when she faces Elena Rybakina for a spot in the Wimbledon final. It would be her second final in three attempts, having won the event back in 2019 while Rybakina is in a semi final of a slam for the first time. The two completed matches between them have been hard-fought affairs with the Romanian edging it in three sets both times.
Halep has been in great form this fortnight, having avoided dropping a set so far through five matches. She was dominant for much of her 6-2 6-4 win over Amanda Anisimova, making it three easy wins against the American since their first dramatic meeting. She did falter near the end but managed to avoid a full on collapse from 5-1 up but only after saving break points. “I refused that she’s going to come at 5-All. Even if I was 0-40, I was hard a little bit on myself. I pumped myself. I served very well. I believed I could finish the match 6-4. I really believed it.”
Rybakina is another of those players who has floated in and around the top 20 waiting to make their breakthrough at a slam. Her issue has been just maintaining consistency and showing greater control over her big hitting. A favourable draw has helped her to get to this stage but after four straight sets wins, she had to work much harder in the quarter finals to earn a 4-6 6-2 6-3 win over Ajla Tomljanovic.
Halep will go into this one as the favourite, especially with her having a greater record of delivering on the big stages. The Romanian is in a confident mood right now and will take plenty from her win against an opponent similar to Rybakina in the last round. She is returning well right now and should be able to pick off an opponent who showed signs of nerves in her last match. If this goes long, it could be anyone’s match especially if Rybakina can reign her power in at the correct times.
Many felt Halep was unfairly ignored when it came to the woman’s match that would open Centre Court on Day 2 of the tournament. As it is, she may well get that spot next year anyway.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets