Simona Halep lives up to her status as the only remaining former Grand Slam champion in this year’s women’s draw.
The Romanian defeated fourth seed Paula Badosa 6-1, 6-2 on center court on Monday to return to the Wimbledon quarter-finals and extend her winning streak at the All England Club to 11 matches.
Halep next faces 20th-ranked American Amanda Anisimova, who ended Harmony Tan’s time at Wimbledon with a 6-2, 6-3 victory. France’s Tan, ranked 115th, had become one of the toasts of the tournament after a remarkable run that included the ousting of seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in the first round.
This is Anisimova’s first Grand Slam quarter-final since the French Open semi-finals in 2019, when she also beat Tan along the way. Anisimova, 20, lost in the first round of Wimbledon last year.
16th seed Halep won the title in 2019 but missed last year’s edition with a left calf injury, while the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the pandemic. It was, however, Halep’s first victory against a top-five ranked player on grass.
“I’ve worked really hard over the last two or three months. I’m really happy with everything I’ve done,” Halep said. “I gained confidence. I really feel like it’s my game. I push myself to do it as much as possible. I still want to improve.”
The former No.1, who also won the French Open in 2018, is yet to drop a set in this year’s tournament and has consistently gotten the better of Badosa in grassroots rallies. She finished with just nine unforced errors and saved the only break point she faced.
“I was just missing,” Badosa said. “Some days it goes in line. And some days, like today, they all come out.”
Badosa’s loss means No. 3 Ons Jabeur is the only top-10 seed in the women’s tournament.
Halep, 30, said the injury made her consider retirement. We don’t seem to think about it now.
“It means a lot that I’m back in the quarterfinals after struggling so much with injuries and self-confidence,” Halep said. “But, like I said, I work hard every day. I feel like if I do that, I’m going to get better. In fact, I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. I’m really confident. It’s a pleasure to be on the court.
Ajla Tomljanovic, meanwhile, came from a set down to beat Alize Cornet and reach her second straight Wimbledon quarter-final. The Australian won 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Court No 2 to set up a meeting with Elena Rybakina, and was in tears after a grueling match that lasted 2 hours and 35 minutes.
“I didn’t really think I could do it,” said Tomljanovic, who lost to eventual champion Ash Barty in the quarter-finals last year. “I can’t believe that a year later I’m in the same position.”
Cornet, 32, ended No. 1 Iga Swiatek’s 37-game winning streak in the previous round. The French veteran was playing in her 62nd consecutive Grand Slam tournament – equaling the WTA record held by Ai Sugiyama – and 65th overall, but only reached her first major quarter-final at the Australian Open this year.
Rybakina reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time after beating Petra Martic 7-5, 6-3.
17th-seeded Rybakina broke in the final game of the first set and then again for a 4-2 lead in the second. She finished with 26 winners against 13 for her opponent.
Rybakina reached the French Open quarter-finals last year, when she made the fourth round at Wimbledon in her first appearance for the All England Club.
Martic was playing at Wimbledon for the 10th time but never made it past the fourth round.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.