Top seed Simona Halep recovered from a slow start before racing away to a 6-3 6-2 victory over Czech sixth seed Karolina Pliskova in their Australian Open quarter-final on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Romanian world number one, still without a grand slam title, trailed 3-0 but battened down the hatches to reel off the next nine games on her way to a first Melbourne semi-final.
An increasingly deflated Pliskova eventually stopped the rot but with Halep offering precious little in the way of cheap points, the result soon became a formality. Halep made only 10 unforced errors in the one hour, 11 minute contest on Rod Laver Arena and sealed victory with a punishing return to the baseline which the big-serving Pliskova could only slap into the net.
The Romanian advances to face 2016 champion Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals after the German crushed American Madison Keys earlier on Wednesday.
“It’s nice to be in the semis,” Halep, coached by Australian Darren Cahill, said on court.
“I started to open the court and get a read on her serve.”