Simona Halep praises world No. 126 after routine Melbourne semifinal win

Former world No. 1 Simona Halep was thrilled after reaching the final in her first tournament of the season.

Halep, now ranked at No. 20 in the world, dispatched world No. 126 Zheng Qinven 6-3 6-2 in the Melbourne Summer Set 1 semifinal.

“I’m really happy that I can play the final for the first tournament of the year,” Halep told the press, per the WTA website. “I’m feeling good, and I’m happy with the way I played.”

“I’m really happy with the way I bounced back. It’s always tough, first tournament of the year, few matches played, tough matches. Yesterday was really tough, and today I felt like I played much better, I served much better, and that means physically I’m in a good spot.”

Halep praised Qinven

Halep broke Qinven in the opening game of the match and then saved two break points in the following game to take an early 2-0 lead.

Halep then broke Qinven for the second time in the ninth game to seal the opener. 

After losing the first set, Qinven had a chance to make a good start to the second set but she blew three break points in the opening game.

Qinven paid the price for not realizing her break points as Halep claimed breaks in the fourth and ninth game to complete a straight-set win. 

“Very powerful. Some balls I didn’t even see them. Yeah, good surprised that she can hit so strong. She’s serving pretty strong also; 180 the first serve, which is huge, and she’s so young. I feel like she has a bright future,” Halep said of Qinven, per WTA Insider.

Halep has had a pretty good week as she has claimed three wins in straight-set and only one win in three sets. 

Halep will be battling Veronika Kudermetova in the Melbourne final. 

Kudermetova received a free pass into the Melbourne final after Naomi Osaka gave her a walkover.

Halep is now a win away from winning her first title since the 2020 Rome Masters.