Simona Halep edged Alizé Cornet in a tight two-setter for her 50th match win of the year, as well as a spot in the semifinals of the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament Of Champions.
The 64 64 scoreline may look routine, but the match was anything but – one of the recurring themes was that Halep would build a lead and Cornet would catch up, with a 3-1 first set lead becoming 3-3 and a 5-2 second set lead narrowing to 5-4 – but Halep would just close the set out both times.
The pattern came up again in the final game at 64 54, with Halep serving up a 40-15 lead and double match point, only to watch a huge Cornet forehand winner go by her on the first and double fault the second away – but the No.1-seeded Romanian closed the No.7-seeded Frenchwoman out on No.3.
Halep gave a shout out to the big group of supporters who are in town from neighboring Romania.
“This tournament is very special for me, being close to home and having so much support from the public,” she said in her post-match press conference. “Quite a lot of them are my family and friends!”
Halep’s win over Cornet was her 50th match win of the year, making her just the fourth player to reach that milestone after Serena Williams (78), Agnieszka Radwanska (56) and Petra Kvitova (51). Roberta Vinci currently has 49 match wins on the year and could also make it to 50 in Fed Cup this weekend.
Now 2-0 in Group Serdika, and 4-0 in sets, Halep is the first player through to the semifinals of the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament Of Champions. She will play alternate Elina Svitolina in her last match.
“I was a little tired tonight and didn’t serve so well, but I stayed focused and I’m very happy to be through to the semifinals,” Halep commented. “My match tomorrow is still important, because if I lose, it will not be so easy to come back two days later and play such an important match as the semis.