Simona Halep, Sabine Lisicki skip drama
LONDON -- The next wave of stars in women's tennis seems to gain new members each tournament, and Simona Halep, with a strong foothold already, made one more career statement Tuesday by reaching her first Wimbledon quarterfinal.
The 22-year-old Romanian, a French Open finalist who reached the quarters of the Australian Open in January, beat Zarina Diyas 6-3, 6-0 for her 10th win in her past 11 Grand Slam matches.
Halep will next play last year's Wimbledon finalist, Sabine Lisicki, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 winner over Yaroslava Shvedova.
Halep, the highest seed left in the women's draw at No. 3 after the exits of Serena Williams and Li Na, began last year 47th, but she won seven tournaments in the past 13 months to shoot up the rankings. Halep had never before advanced beyond the second round at Wimbledon, winning just two matches total in three years.
It took her just 57 minutes to dispatch Diyas, 20, losing just three points on her first serve and committing just nine unforced errors.
The victory made Halep the second Romanian woman, after Virginia Ruzici in 1978 and 1981, to advance to the final eight women at Wimbledon.
The reigning runner-up can move into the second week of a tournament quietly, which has been the journey thus far for Lisicki, who finished her rain-delayed fourth-rounder to reach her fifth straight Wimbledon quarterfinal.
Lisicki summoned the trainer to examine her sore right shoulder down a break point at 1-1 in the final set but shrugged it off to win the match, drawing curious looks from her opponent and criticism from television announcers.
"The timing was very unfortunate," said Lisicki, who finished with 20 double faults. "I hit a ball before, and it just went into my back. I tried to keep going. I played a few points, but I wasn't able to lift my arm. I mean, it was obvious. I was serving, what, 50 miles an hour or something? I don't remember if I ever served that slow in my life before."
Lisicki, 24, who upset defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round of last year's Wimbledon, then broke down on-court after a subpar performance in a finals loss against Marion Bartoli, came into the tournament having won 74 percent of her career grass-court matches. That's compared with 55 percent of her clay-court matches and 55 percent on hard courts.
She said last year's loss motivated her Tuesday.
"I think that helped me today, to be honest, to just push it through," she said. "I was fighting with all my heart. I couldn't really serve. I was just digging in there, fighting for every single point. I love this place so much. The crowd gave me such a big support again. I think that really helps in those moments."