Australian Open: Simona Halep reaches quarterfinals in style

Sharapova out of the race.

Romanian tennis player  Simona Halep (WTA 11) on Monday morning defeated Jelena Jankovic (WTA 8) 6-4 2-6 6-0 to reach the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career, the first Romanian to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal in five years.
“She played really well in the second set,” Halep said after the match according to . “I was a little bit tired after the first set – my energy was very down – but I was ready to play the third set. I was just telling myself I had nothing to lose – it was my chance to fight for every point and for the match, and for my dream. It was my dream before starting this year to play the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam.” Halep is the first Romanian to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Sorana Cirstea at the French Open in 2009, and the first Romanian to reach the Aussie Open quarters since Irina Spirlea in 1998.
She is also likely going to break into the Top 10 after this tournament – if that happens she would be the third Romanian ever to break into the elite, after Virginia Ruzici and the aforementioned Spirlea.
Halep had an absolute breakthrough second half of the 2013 season – from May through the end of the year she won 43 of 51 matches, her first six WTA titles and rocketed from No.64 all the way to No.11. Her start to 2014 was shaky – she lost her opening match in Sydney – but she seems back on track. Awaiting Halep in the next round is No.20 seed Dominika Cibulkova who provided the surprse of the day eliminating No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova, former World No.1,  3-6 6-4 6-1, only one day after Ana Ivanovic’s shocker against Serena Williams.
“I went on the court and was more than 100% sure I could really beat her,” Cibulkova said. “I had beaten her at a Grand Slam before. I had done it before. She knows me and how I play, but I also knew that she knew it would be a tough match. I was prepared to give 100% on the court today.” Cibulkova is now through to her first Australian Open quarterfinal, completing her set – she had already been to the quarterfinals or better at all the other majors. Her best result was the semifinals of the French Open in 2009 – she beat Sharapova in the quarterfinals before falling to Dinara Safina.

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