Simona Halep has issued an emphatic statement to her rivals after destroying World No.4 Paula Badosa in the fourth round, to extend her stunning winning streak at Wimbledon.
The former champion marked her return to Centre Court with a scintillating performance that saw her thrash Badosa 6-1 6-2 in just one hour.
The Romanian has not lost at Wimbledon since 2018, having lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish aloft in 2019.
Covid-19 saw the championships cancelled the following year and injury ruled Halep out of last year's Wimbledon tournament, won by Australia's Ash Barty.
Playing on the main showcourt at SW19 for the first time since sweeping aside Serena Williams in the 2019 final, the 16th-seed put on another show for the crowd on Monday.
She smashed 17 winners, kept a tab on her errors and broke Badosa's serve five times to close out a thoroughly dominant victory in 60 minutes.
The win saw Halep extend her unbeaten run at The England Club to 11 matches, with her last loss on the famed grass courts coming way back in 2018.
Simona Halep hasn’t lost at Wimbledon since 2018. For perspective, back then Federer had 20 GS, Nadal had 17 and Djokovic 12. @TennisChannel
— Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman) July 4, 2022
— wta (@WTA) July 4, 2022
Halep just destroyed Badosa. Did what Kvitova should have done
— ☘️ (@returnofserve) July 4, 2022
Simona Halep returns to Centre Court for the first time since winning the title in 2019 - and plays a match strongly reminiscent of that run 👀
A 6-1, 6-2 win over Paula Badosa - focused, aggressive, damn near flawless.
That was a marker laid down. pic.twitter.com/N7lEOXVHge
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) July 4, 2022
Halep just completely destroyed. Masterclass. #Wimbledon2022
— Sebastian Spencer (@Sebastian4Reel) July 4, 2022
2019 champ Simona Halep easily beats the world #4 Paula Badosa 6-1, 6-2 in 59 minutes to reach the QFs at Wimbledon for the 5th time.
16th career Grand Slam QF for the former #1, who is imo the favorite for the title in 2022 atm.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) July 4, 2022
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) July 4, 2022
"It was the place that I wanted to be today. I think I played a great match," said Halep, who will meet big-hitting American Amanda Anisimova for a place in the semi-finals.
Anisimova ended Harmony Tan's improbable run into the second week with a 6-2-6-3 dismissal of Serena Williams' conqueror in 74 minutes.
"It's always tough to play against her, she's a great player," Halep said of the American.
Halep has been flying under the radar at the 2022 Championships but is now considered a serious title contender as the only former champion left in the draw.
None of the top 15 women's seeds, other than Tunisian third seed Ons Jabeur, have survived either.
Simona Halep yet to drop a set at Wimbledon
Halep has yet to lose a set and faced just a single breakpoint against Badosa.
"I'm really pleased with the way I played this tournament so far. Day by day, it's getting better," Halep said.
The Romanian dropped only four games in the pair's only previous meeting in Madrid in April and their second match-up also turned out to be another forgettable outing for Badosa, who beat two-time former champion Petra Kvitova in her previous round.
Former World No.1 Halep, who won her first major at the 2018 French Open, lost just three points on her serve while breaking the Spaniard's delivery three times to win the opening set in 22 minutes.
The second set was longer, but almost as one-sided, Halep winning it in 37 minutes.
"I worked really hard in the past two, three months," Halep, who came close to retirement during an injury-laden 2021, added.
"That's why I'm starting to play better and better. I got the confidence. I really feel this is my game."
Meantime, Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic is also in the quarter-finals after coming from a set down to defeat giant-killing French woman, Alize Cornet.
Tomljanovic roared back into the match against World No.1 Iga Swiatek's conqueror, wrapping up a 4-6 6-4 6-3 to take her place in the last eight.
The Aussie World No.44, will play 17th seed Elena Rybakina in the quarters after the Kazakhstani accounted for Croatia's Petra Martic 7-5 6-3.
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