Romania's Simona Halep reacts after winning a point against Estonia's Anett Kontaveit during their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Romania's Simona Halep reacts after winning a point against Estonia's Anett Kontaveit during their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)|Associated Press
Tennis

Australian Open Women's Semifinal: No matter who she plays, Romania's Simona Halep is on top of her game and headed for another major title

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Australian Open

Women’s Semifinal

Halep over Muguruza or Pavlyuchenkova

What can you do in 53 minutes? Get through a single lecture in a college level course. See a good one-hour episode of television. Get a nice full body massage. Have a good workout that will make you feel good, both inside and outside. Eat a healthy meal and clean up after yourself. Or . . . how about kicking the living hell out of a world class tennis player in the Women’s quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

Playing some of the best tennis ever displayed before the sweltering fans in Melbourne, who braved the wild fires to watch, Romania’s Simona Halep needed just 53 minutes to dust off Anett Kontaveit – Halep won 78% of the points in which she got her first serve in, where she surrendered just two games, and where she looked practically unbeatable. And she was.

In the semis, the reigning Wimbledon champion looks to be the odds-on favorite to knock the stuffing out of which ever opponent lines up against her, whether it be 30th seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, or two-time Grand Slam champion 6’0” Venezuela born Garbine Muguruza.

To me, it matters not who digs her shoes into the turf and hopes to make her way into her very first Australian Open final. Neither Pavlyuchenkova nor Muguruza has the power, the fortitude, the steadiness, the nerves, nor the game to steal a semi-final win from Halep, especially when she brings her best stuff to the stadium. Mark Halep as one finalist, and if you’ve got the guts, color her as the 2020 champion, because that’s the direction she’s headed with no one in her way to stop her. But maybe more importantly, watch her for the simple pleasure of watching pure expertise in its simple beauty.

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