Simona Halep Reaches First Australian Open Semi-Final

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Simona Halep

World No.1, Simona Halep, is into the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time after a 6-3 6-2 victory over Karolina Pliskova.

At one point in the match, Halep won nine straight service games as she ruthlessly defeated the listless Czech player.

Today’s victory also makes her the first Romanian woman in history to reach the semi-final stage of the Australian Open.

Halep faces Angelique Kerber in the semi-final after the German crushed Madison Keys in straight sets earlier on in the day.

Victory for Halep also takes her one step closer to retaining her World No.1 spot. Caroline Wozniacki is the only remaining player who can overtake her, and she faces Elise Mertens in the other semi-final.
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Simona Halep crushes Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals

In her quarter-final, Simona Halep got off to a sluggish start, dropping her opening service game to gift Pliskova a 3-0 lead. Momentum quickly shifted though, with Halep reeling off six straight games to seal the opening set over the frustrated Czech.

Halep showed no sign of relenting at the start of the second set. Pliskova, who was noticeably frustrated throughout the match, was broken in her first service game as Halep this time raced to a 3-0 lead.

Pliskova would eventually get a game on the board to stop the run of nine straight service games for Halep. That would be her penultimate game of the match though, as a rampant Halep strolled through to win 6-3 6-2.
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Can Simona Halep win the Australian Open?

Simona Halep’s run through to the semi-finals is all the more impressive given her previous struggles at the Australian Open. In the eight times she has played here, she has lost in the opening round on four occasions. Twice she has reached the quarter-finals in the past but this is her first foray into the semi-finals and the fifth Grand Slam semi-final of her career.

In the semi-final, she faces an inspired looking Angelique Kerber. The two-time Grand Slam champion is unbeaten so far this season, boasting 14 straight victories. In terms of their head-to-head record, Kerber leads 5-4 and has won five of the last six. Despite playing each other six times in 2016 though, the pair did not meet once last season.

Halep is still searching for that elusive maiden Grand Slam. Given the quality of Kerber, Mertens, and Wozniacki she will have to be at her very best to win it here. That said, since becoming World No.1 she has looked more confident and comfortable with her tennis. Given she has also valiantly battled through an ankle injury in Melbourne, it would shock very few if she were to finally end that Grand Slam drought here.

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