Germany’s Angelique Kerber outslugged Romania’s Simona Halep in a quarter-final of the counter-punchers at Wimbledon on Tuesday, shading a compelling two-set match that featured 13 breaks of serve.
The German, who reached her second semi-final at the All England Club as she bids to add another grand slam title to the maiden major she won in Australia in January, broke Halep five times in the first set of her 7-5 7-6(2) win.
The Romanian, herself a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2014, conceded the set on a double fault.
Fourth seed Kerber — like Halep not one of the sport’s bigger servers — was broken four times in her first six service games as the pair counter-attacked, stretching each other’s defences with a mix of pinpoint topspins, slices and dropshots.
Upping her game a notch from Monday’s fourth-round display in which she lost just four games in beating Japan’s Misaki Doi, Kerber began to dominate the long baseline rallies as the second set progressed, forcing Halep to chase down ball after ball.
As the Romanian, hitting cross-court into left-hander Kerber’s forehand whenever possible, began to tire, the German had a chance to close things out at 5-4.
But with a captivated Centre Court crowd willing the Romanian to find the energy to take the match to a final set, Kerber again dropped serve as part of a sequence of four consecutive breaks.
The German regrouped to sail through the tiebreak, however, on a succession of Halep errors to set up a semi-final clash with eighth seed Venus Williams.