This Wednesday, Simona Halep and Amanda Anisimova are due to play their fourth match together (2-1 Halep) in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
Though they’ve played a Grand Slam quarterfinal before (Anisimova won in the 2019 French Open quarterfinals), it feels as though the stakes have never been higher–it’s unclear how much more success Halep can squeeze into her career and Anisimova will feel she has a real shot at the title this time around rather than being part of a junior dream run.
Simona Halep vs Amanda Anisimova
Halep’s Wimbledon Form
Halep has broken her opponent’s serve 57% of the time so far, sensational numbers even by her lofty standards. A bit of help from the surface has seemed to help her this tournament, her usually wall-like style a little more aggressive than she’s sometimes shown in the past.
It’s been a while since Halep has looked this merciless on return. She’s showing shades of her 2019 Wimbledon run, consistently adding interest with her returns rather than just looking to grind her opponent down.
Her match with Paula Badosa in particular showed it will take something special to beat her. Currently ranked fourth in the world, Badosa looked to control the centre of the court with little success as Halep was able keep her guessing on near every shot.
Anisimova’s Wimbledon Form
There’s one type of player that can counter Halep’s oft-impossible to live with tactics–a player than can consistently take time away from her.
Take a look at five of her last seven losses:
- Beatriz Haddad Mia on grass. Strong lefty slider and forehand combo. Won her enough free points to get her over the line.
- Qinwen Zheng on clay. Still putting everything together but likely soon-to-be revered as having one of the best first-serves in the game (Halep suffered from a panic attack in this match however).
- Ons Jabeur on clay. Was able to keep Halep guessing on a peak-drop-shot performance day from the Tunisian.
- Iga Swiatek. No explanation required!
- Jelena Ostapenko. When Ostapenko’s on, she’s one of the biggest hitters the game’s ever seen.
Amanda Anisimova falls into the category of “time-take-away-er” by virtue of her absurdly outstanding return of serve. So far she appears to be timing her returns far more adeptly than in previous tournaments on grass–her one-sided loss to Halep mere weeks ago in Bad Homburg is unlikely to worry her.
Having seen how she’s playing at Wimbledon so far, Anisimova is undoubtedly the type of player that could give Halep serious trouble.
A prediction is tricky. The match will very likely boil down to who’s able to return better on the day.
So who’s returned better so far? Taking everything into account, Halep appears to be doing the job just a little more efficiently than Anisimova.
In all honesty though, a 10-point tiebreak in the third to decide matters seems the most likely conclusion. And from there, with everything on the line, who knows who takes it? With very little conviction, we’d back Halep if forced to…
Whoever you back, do not miss this match! It has the potential to be the match of the tournament.
Main Photo from Getty.