Romania’s Simona Halep is in the semifinals of 2014 Wimbledon after beating Sabine Lisicki in straight sets in the quarterfinals.
Here’s what you need to know about Halep:
1. She Was in the Finals at the 2014 French Open
After sweeping Andrea Petkovic in her first ever semifinal appearance in a Grand Slam event, she will face veteran Maria Sharapova. Halep is a tough opponent and has yet to lose a set in the French Open this year. The final on Saturday is going to be one for the books with both Sharapova and Halep dominating the clay thus far.
— Chris Casavant (@Chris_Tennis105) June 5, 2014
2. She Had Breast Reduction Surgery
There has been a direct connection between the skyrocketing of Halep’s ranking in the WTA and her breast reduction surgery.
The 5’6 pro is known for athleticism and gracefulness on the tennis court, especially after the surgery 5 years ago. Halep decided on the surgery when she was experiencing back pain and discomfort from her 34DD size bra. The surgery brought her cup size down to a much more comfortable 34C.
Since then she has risen 450 spots in the rankings. Halep told media:
My ability to react quickly was worse and my breasts made me uncomfortable. It’s the weight that troubles me. My ability to react quickly, my breasts make me uncomfortable when I play.”
Click here to see more before and after photos via The Huffington Post.
3. Adidas Sponsors Her
Just last month in May 2014 Halep signed a deal with Adidas to endorse the popular sports brand.
Head of Tennis for adidas Global Sports Marketing, Andrea Swick, said of Halep:
Simona’s drive, talent and personality fit perfectly with adidas’ ambition to empower young tennis players around the world. We look forward to accompanying her for many years to come as her impressive move up the WTA rankings continues to gain momentum”
She is now among a few of the most elite players representing the brand, including Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic and Andy Murray.
Halep told iSportConnection.com:
“I’m delighted to sign with adidas, a global leader in Tennis. The brand has a strong history in tennis and sports technology and I look forward to joining the family and playing in the legendary three stripes.”
4. She Rose from No. 57 to No. 4 in the World
Halep is currently the highest remaining seed left in the tournament even with Sharapova still in the running. Seeded at No. 4, she ranks higher than Sharapova at No. 7 and then underdogs, Eugenie Bouchard at No. 18 and Andrea Petkovic at No. 28. Halep was deemed 2013’s Most Improved player, shooting up from 57th to 4th within a year, winning 6 WTA titles in 2013.
Watch the video above to see highlights of her last meeting with Sharapova.
5. Halep May Be the Most Graceful Player On Tour
Halep has been noted for her calm, straightforward presence on the tennis court. While players like Maria Sharapova are basically screaming the whole match, you don’t hear so much as a cough out of Halep’s mouth. The silent player moves smoothly around the court in a no-nonsense kind of matter that people find enjoyable to watch.
Sports Illustrated said of Halep:
She’s the anti-diva. She doesn’t make a peep when she plays. She doesn’t cut a physically intimidating presence like most of the top women on tour. Ask her a question, and she’ll look you in the eye and give you a straight answer. And the best thing is, you believe her. There’s not a lick of nonsense about her.”
Her style of play is rare and admired by all those who watch the game.
Neither Halep or Petkovic has made it to a Grand Slam semifinal before this. Here are the tweets you need to read.Click here to read more