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Wednesday, 10 July 2024 16:44

Elena Rybakina powers past Elina Svitolina to reach Wimbledon semi-final.

By Joe Rindl and Emily Salley.

Former champion Elena Rybakina cruised into the Wimbledon semi-finals with a clinical win over Elina Svitolina on Centre Court.

Kazakhstan's Rybakina was a level above Svitolina in a 6-3 6-2 victory that took just 62 minutes, and will play in the last four for the first time since she won the competition in 2022.

The 25-year-old will face Czech Barbora Krejcikova, who battled past Jelena Ostapenko on Court One to reach the last four at Wimbledon for the first time.

Rybakina and Svitolina traded breaks in the opening games of an initially even first set, with the Ukrainian then dropping serve to love when trailing 4-3.

Rybakina carried her momentum through to the second set, immediately breaking with a deep forehand into the corner.

She broke again at 4-2 and served out for the match to reach the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time since she reached the Australian Open final in 2023.

The result ended Svitolina's run, with the Ukrainian unable to repeat her semi-final appearance of last year.

On Monday, the 29-year-old former world number three said it was "extremely tough" to play at Wimbledon after Russian strikes killed dozens of people and seriously damaged a children's hospital in her native Ukraine.

Krejcikova battles past Ostapenko

Krejcikova started the 2024 season as the world number 10, but she has been hampered by a back injury and illness, causing her to slip to 32nd in the rankings.

But a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win to move past fellow Roland Garros champion Ostapenko marks an impressive return to form for the 28-year-old.

The 31st seed had not advanced past the last eight of a Grand Slam since triumphing at the French Open in 2021.

"It's an unbelievable moment that I'm experiencing right now in my tennis career," Krejcikova said.

"There have been many doubts from inside but also from the outside world, but I'm super happy that I never give up and that I'm standing here right now and that I qualified to be in the semi-finals."

Apart from a double fault in her first service game, Krejcikova was clinical on her serve and a single break at 1-1 was enough for her to clinch the opening set.

But Ostapenko, a notorious slow starter, struck the first blow in the second, letting out a huge roar as Krejcikova netted and a topsy-turvy set followed.

Hitting erratic forehands, Ostapenko continued to wrestle through her service games.

After saving three break points en route to a 4-1 lead, she conceded twice to help her opponent nudge ahead.

However, Krejcikova became tense when attempting to serve out the match and a nervy double fault brought her big-hitting opponent level.

Krejcikova, cheered on by the Court One crowd, asserted control in the tie-break before raising her hands outstretched in celebration after sealing a semi-final spot on her second match point.