Simona Halep has banned stress as she continues her progress through Wimbledon, reaching the semi-finals on Wednesday 6-2, 6-4 over Amanda Anisimova.
The 30-year-old who won the title in her last appearance here in 2019, has it all to play for as she faces off on Thursday against Russian-turned-Kazakh Elena Rybakina, who beat Ajla Tomljanovic in a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 fightback.
Halep, who married last autumn and also owns a Roland Garros title, said she is much more relaxed after ploughing through without the loss of a set so far.
“I’m different. I play different, I play well now,” she said, “ll the matches were different than in 2019.
“I can control emotions much better. I have experience.
“But it’s always special when you step on the court in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam. So I will see tomorrow but it’s going to be nice, for sure.”
The Romanian called herself “super happy” about her success.
“Being in the semis of a Grand Slam means a lot – I will take it.
“I’ve been really good this period of two, three months. I’ve worked hard.”
Rybakina, the first Kazakh to ever get this far at a major, is experienced at keeping her emotions in check.
“I’m just a very calm person, I’m not showing my emotions. It’s been always like this,” the 23-year-old ranke 23rd, said.
“Of course, I’m full of emotions inside. I just know that I have a match tomorrow, so I’m just trying to focus, forget what happened now and just keep preparing for the next match.”
At 1.84 metres, Rybakina will have the height advantage over 1.68m Halep, who will counterbalance with experience in eight Grand Slam semi-finals.
But she discounted that factor when it comes to the showdown on the grass.
“The key, of course, is my serve, aggressive game. She’s a great champion, moving really well, reading the game.
“I’ll just try to do my best, focus on things which I can control: my serve, my shots, emotions.
“No matter what’s happening, I just to stay calm, keep playing point by point.”
Rybakina also addressed the elephant in the room: her Moscow birthplace.
“Everybody wants to compete, they were not choosing where they born.
“I feel it for them because everybody wants to compete at the biggest tournament, at Wimbledon. You just hope that next year is going to be back to
“I just want the war to end as soon as possible. Peace, yeah.”
Main photo:- Simona Halep winning her quarter final today. – by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd