Elena Rybakina beats Svitolina to reach the Wimbledon semifinals and will next face Krejcikova

LONDON (AP) — Elena Rybakina knows people see her as the favorite to win her second Wimbledon title.

The 2022 champion's 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 21 Elina Svitolina to reach the semifinals on Wednesday will only bolster that view.

“Definitely, I have an aggressive style of game. I have a huge serve, so it’s a big advantage,” she said in an on-court interview. “Of course I want to go until the the end, but match by match. For now, I'm happy with the way I am going.”

The 25-year-old Rybakina — at No. 4 the highest seeded woman left in the draw — had seven aces and 28 winners to improve her record at the All England Club to 19-2.

Rybakina will next face No. 31 Barbora Krejcikova, who reached her first Wimbledon semifinal by eliminating No. 13 Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 7-6 (4) in a match between former French Open champions.

Krejcikova, who won the title at Roland Garros in 2021, trailed 4-1 in the second set but managed to recover.

Ostapenko, who hadn’t dropped a set on her run to the quarterfinals, instructed her coach to leave during the second set but it ultimately didn't help the 2017 French Open champion.

“It’s a great moment for me," said Krejcikova, who is from the Czech Republic. “It’s an unbelievable moment that I’m experiencing right now.”

Krejcikova had struggled with injuries and illness earlier this season.

“There have been many doubts from the inside, but also from outside — from the outside world — but I’m super happy than I never gave up and that I’m standing here right now,” she said.

Svitolina, a Ukrainian who is a two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, was not wearing a black ribbon as she did in her fourth-round match to mourn victims of Russian missile attack.

Queen Camilla was in attendance for their Centre Court match, but neither player realized it, they said later.

Svitolina said it was “a big privilege to play Wimbledon in front of the queen, even though I didn’t know. The support that Ukraine been getting from United Kingdom been really unbelievable.”

As for the match, Svitolina said Rybakina's game is more than just a big serve.

“Elena is someone that also returns quite good, especially on grass. I mean, grass is such a difficult surface already to return. Then when you have someone who hits the spots good, it’s extremely difficult,” she said.

Plus, Rybakina is more relaxed compared to two years ago when she beat Ons Jabeur for the Wimbledon title.

“In 2022, I was definitely more nervous than now," she said. "It was the first time for me to play on Centre Court. It was a lot of people, a lot of attention. Now, of course, I got used to it a little bit. I’m taking these matches in a different way.”

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

07/10/2024 17:10 -0400

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