Halep breezes into last eight

The Bolton News: Simona Halep, pictured, defeated Zarina Diyas 6-3 6-0 Simona Halep, pictured, defeated Zarina Diyas 6-3 6-0

Simona Halep extended her impressive grand slam form by showing a cool head on a hot Wimbledon day to reach the quarter-finals.

On Court Two, which offers no protection from the elements and was bathed in sun, Halep overwhelmed Kazakh Zarina Diyas, whose debut at the All England Club lasted an impressive four rounds.

Romanian third seed Halep clinched a 6-3 6-0 victory in 57 minutes to continue her run deep into the tournament where in three previous visits she had won a mere two matches.

As the highest-ranked player remaining in the tournament, following the exits of Serena Williams and Li Na, great things are expected of the 22-year-old from Constanta, a tourist city on the Black Sea coast.

It was on Court Two in 2011 that Halep pinched a set against Serena Williams, before the American found her best game.

Initial progress thereafter was unspectacular, but after winning seven tournaments in the last 13 months Halep has shot up the rankings to earn herself the lofty seeding.

She defeated Diyas on her way to the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, before powering into the French Open final last month, where Maria Sharapova denied her a first grand slam title.

Despite wearing strapping on her left leg, Halep was comfortable throughout, breaking the Diyas serve to love in the third game with a backhand that wrong-footed the 20-year-old from Almaty.

It was so warm that umbrellas came out in the crowd to protect spectators from the blazing midday sun, but on the court Halep was unaffected and seized a second break to take the opening set when Diyas lashed a backhand over the baseline.

If Halep was anticipating a response from Diyas, it failed to materialise, and on she marched without dropping a further game, her day's work complete inside an hour.

Next for Halep is a challenging last-eight clash with last year's runner-up Sabine Lisicki, after the German had a controversial three-set win over Russian-born Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova on Court Three.

Serving at 1-1 and break point down in the deciding set, Lisicki called for the trainer to attend to a shoulder problem. It was a move permitted by the rule book but arguably dubious from a sporting standpoint, and led to a lengthy delay as the troublesome area was massaged.

Lisicki, who served a staggering 20 double-faults over the contest, went on to hold from her precarious position and later seized chances on the Shvedova serve to earn a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win.

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