LONDON (Reuters) – Simona Halep sent new mum Victoria Azarenka packing 7-6(3) 6-2 in the fourth round on Monday as a litany of second-set errors put paid to the Belarussian’s dreams of a fairytale Wimbledon comeback.
Azarenka, playing in her second tournament after the birth of her son Leo in December, out-hit and out-thought the second-seeded Romanian for much of a pulsating first set, mixing deep groundstrokes with frequent dropshots and forays to the net.
But the two-times semi-finalist at the All England Club began to flag in the first-set tiebreak, losing it 7-3 before conceding the next five games.
A mini fightback pegged the second-set deficit back to 5-2 before another Azarenka backhand groundstroke error saw Halep home in just under 90 minutes, keeping alive the Romanian’s hopes of a maiden grand slam victory and an ascent to the world number one ranking.
Halep will face Britain’s Johanna Konta in the quarter- finals.
(Reporting by John Stonestreet, editing by Ed Osmond)