Melbourne, 29 January 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Fourth seed Simona Halep on Wednesday sprinted past Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 6-1, 6-1 to reach her second Australian Open semi-final, where she will face fellow Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza after her 7-5, 6-3 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
In the men’s draw, seventh seed Alexander Zverev of Germany defeated 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to make his first career semi-final at a Grand Slam.
A resurgent Muguruza defeated 30th seed Pavlyuchenkova in one hour and 33 minutes to reach her first semi at Melbourne Park to equal her best result at a major since the 2018 Roland-Garros.
In the opener, the two-time Grand Slam champion twice dropped her serve to then break right back. She then held steady on 5-5 to love, forcing Russia’s Pavlyuchenkova to serve to stay in the set.
The 30th seed, who in 48 previous appearances in a major has never reached a semi-final, hit three double faults and then closed a 12-shot rally with an unforced error to gift the 26-year-old Spaniard the first set.
Muguruza again dropped her serve first early in the second, and again capitalized on Pavlyuchenkova gifting her two break points with a double fault to tie things up.
The Russian’s eighth serve mishap eventually gave the Spaniard the edge she needed to lock in her fifth career slam semi, but just her second since winning the French Open in 2017.
“I would say I think those years were less successful if you compare them to my previous years,” Muguruza said after the match.
“I just think you struggle as a player, and there is moments where things don’t go your way. You just have to be patient and go through the rough moments, just hang in there and it will come back again.”
Earlier at Rod Laver Arena, Kontaveit only managed to hold onto her serve in the first game of the opening set, with the two-time slam champion Halep then winning six in a row to take the set in less than half an hour.
Halep continued to roll in the second, winning a total of 11 consecutive games, with the Estonian getting her name on the board on 5-0 to avoid a co-called bagel.
The Romanian closed things off on her serve in 53 minutes, reaching the Melbourne major’s semis without dropping a set.
“Perfection doesn’t exist, but I’m very happy with the way I played, I felt good on court … it was a great match,” Halep said of her performance.
Zverev had a rough start against Wawrinka, who broke his serve twice to win the first five games of the opener and closing the set out in just 24 minutes, the first set dropped by the German in his Melbourne campaign so far.
In the second set, Zverev steadied the ship with four good holds before breaking the Swiss on 4-3 and evening things out on his serve.
In the third, four Wawrinka unforced errors including a double fault put the German 22-year-old ahead for the first time after an hour of play. Despite being broken right back Zverev took the lead once more on 2-2 after the three time slam champion put a backhand in the net on a break point.
After missing a couple of set points on Wawrinka’s serve, Zverev converted the break into a set on his serve and carried the momentum into the fourth, winning five consecutive games and eventually closing things out in two hours and 19 minutes to book a spot in his first slam semi-final.
“I’ve done well in other tournaments … but I could never break that barrier in a Grand Slam, I am happy to be in the semi-finals … thank you very much for everybody who is supporting … you guys cannot imagine what this means to me,” Zverev said after the win.