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."