Simona Halep sets up Angelique Kerber semi-final clash

Simona Halep sets up Angelique Kerber semi-final clash

Simona Halep sets up Angelique Kerber semi-final clash

"Actually, this tournament looks like a marathon for me", she said, after spending nearly nine hours on court so far, more than any other player.

This is Halep's best run in Melbourne, and the 26-year-old said: "It's really nice to be in the semis".

Osaka's spirit ebbed away in the second set and after establishing a 5-2 lead Halep crunched a forehand return victor to seal victory and reach the last eight for the third time. She managed to recover just enough to beat former Canadian rising star Eugenie Bouchard in the second round (6-2, 6-2), and then had a marathon match against American Lauren Davis, which she won after nearly four hours (4-6, 6-4, 15-13).

Battling an ankle injury in Melbourne, Halep - still eyeing her first major title - moved into a fifth career grand slam semi-final. Next opponent will be the Romanian ex-leader of rating WTA Karolina Pliskova the Czech in the fourth round won a hard-fought win over compatriot Barbora Strycova (6:7, 6:3, 6:2).

Romania's Halep was too good for Japanese youngster Naomi Osaka in a straight sets last 16 win. Her fightback and exceptional ability to return balls built huge amount of pressure on Pliskova and the Czech's big serve began to betray her.

"I have some figuring out to do, what happens to me in deciding moments in Grand Slams", he said after going down 5-7, 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.

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The 22-year-old threatened to mount a recovery when she pulled back from 3-0 to 3-2 in the second but, after her serve was broken again in the next game, the match quickly went away from her.

The Romanian advances to face 2016 champion Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals after the German crushed American Madison Keys earlier on Wednesday. I don't know how I won, I was running everywhere and every time she had an answer. "I had a tough off-season, and right now I try to enjoy it".

Halep said she had to "restart" the match midway through the opening set.

"I have to get my mind-set ready for this", Pliskova said. "I feel it but I'm trying not to think about it and give it everything".

For a while it appeared former Australian and U.S. Open champion Kerber's progression could unravel against No. 88 Hsieh Su-wei, a former top-ranked doubles player with a double-handed grip on both sides, until she regained momentum for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win.

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