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06.06.2019 Sports News

Anisimova beats Halep to set up Barty semi-final showdown

By Paul Myers - RFI
REUTERS/Charles Platiau

American teenager Amanda Anisimova pulled off the biggest win of her fledgling career on Thursday when she dispatched the defending champion Simona Halep to advance to her first semi-final at a Grand Slam tournament.

The 17-year-old beat the third seed 6-2 6-4 on centre court in 68 minutes.

“Every time I had a lead and I was winning, I knew I wasn't actually winning,” said Anisimova. “I knew she could come back at any moment, so I wasn't thinking about winning or not. I was just thinking about playing each point and trying to get ahead.”

Halep appeared to be on the return when she recovered a break to level at 4-4 in the second set. The 27-year-old Romanian carved out a break point to take a 5-4 lead and the chance to serve for the set.

But the former US Open juniors champion maintained her composure and eventually held to lead 5-4. She took the match with a backhand winner down the line.

“As the end was getting closer, it was very tough,” said Anisimova. “Nerves were kicking in a bit. But I was able to make a couple of winners and necessary points and just play the tennis that I wanted to play.”

Anisimova will play Ashleigh Barty after the 23-year-old Australian outmuscled the 14th seed Madison Keys on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

It finished 6-3, 7-5 to the eighth seed who is the highest ranked player remaining in the women's draw. “That's not going to be an advantage,” said Barty. “All four of the semi-finalists have been playing great tennis. It's been an incredible few months to start of the year for me and I'm definitely just riding that wave at the moment."