Top seed Simona Halep had to overcome a three-games-to-love opening set deficit in her Australian Open women’s singles quarter final against Karolina Pliskova before securing a 6-3 6-2 win at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday afternoon.
Halep, the No. 1 player in the world, reeled off eight consecutive games after her slow start to leave Pliskova in her wake.
“I started slow a little bit,” Halep said.
“Then I got used to the rhythm. I got used to everything. I played very well.”
Halep, from Romania, is aiming to reach her third grand slam final.
The 26-year-old has been a French Open finalist twice, but never held a grand slam trophy aloft.
This tournament will eclipse her previous best finish at the Australian Open, having been knocked out in the quarter finals twice.
It could represent Halep’s best chance of a breakthrough grand slam title, having finished 2017 on top of the WTA rankings and continuing her good form into January.
But Halep will have to get past 2016 champion Angelique Kerber on Thursday just to reach the final.
Halep is preparing for a match that could go the distance.
“For sure is going to be a second marathon this tournament, but I’m used to that,” Halep said, eluding to her third round win over Lauren Davis, which saw her win 15-13 in the third.
“I know her pretty well. I know she’s very strong opponent, very strong player. She likes here, but I started to like this tournament. After two years in a row losing in the first round, now it’s a better result.
“I just want to go there and to give everything I have like I did the last matches.”
Halep was at least off the court in just 1 hour 11 minutes in her quarter final.
After the early hiccup, she breezed through the match, taking the first set in 37 minutes and the second set in 34.
Halep does have an ankle niggle, but most players would not be 100% at this stage of a grand slam.
With a short turnaround between matches, Halep said it was all about resting up before the match against Kerber.
“Chilling, doing nothing,” Halep said of her plans for tonight.
“I will be in my room watching tennis. I will watch Roger [Federer] again. A little bit of treatment. I had already. I will have again. So boring. Tomorrow, it’s a nice match and will be a nice day.”