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Wimbledon: Elena Rybakina ends Elina Svitolina run

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Kazakh crushes Svitolina in last 8, to face Krejcikova in semis

LONDON: For the first time, in what seemed like forever, the Centre Court roof was open. There was a steady stream of light, even though a cold drift blowing across the grounds made jumpers and jackets the go-to armor of the day. Brollies were temporarily binned. Later in the afternoon, as the sun made a reappearance at Wimbledon , Elena Rybakina 's point-precise play in the quarterfinals lent to the sharpness of the moment.

The fourth-seed, champion here in 2022, had 28 winners in her 6-3, 6-2 victory over the world No.21 Elina Svitolina . In the semifinals on Thursday, Rybakina plays the No.31 seed Czech Barbora Krejcikova , who rallied from 1-4 in the second set to reach her first semifinal at SW19 with a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over the heavy-hitting 13th seed Jelena Ostapenko.

Rybakina, who likes to keep her exchanges short on and off the court, improved her impressive record at Wimbledon to 19-2 in main-draw matches. "I'm staying really aggressive from the first shots. On the baseline I was playing pretty well and felt the ball good. I think my return has improved," Rybakina said of her play.

"The serve is helping me, even though today maybe not a high percentage, but in important moments, I served it out." Rybakina, who is tied with the world No.1 Iga Swiatek (seven, excluding the United Cup) for the joint-most WTA-level semifinals, said she was better prepared for the later stages of a major than she was two years ago. "Back then I was not expecting to be that far in the draw.

"Now with all the experience and with the time which has passed I want to be in this stage of the tournament," she said. "I'm much more experienced and know what to do." It's a different kind of nerves for the Kazakh now. "Every time you go on the court there are nerves. This is still the same," the Moscow-born 25-year-old said. "But I'm managing that much better than before.

"In 2022 I was definitely more nervous than now. 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."

Rybakina, who has the most aces served at the Championships in women's draw this year (31 -tied with Lulu Sun), trails Krejcikova 0-2 in head-to-head clashes, having lost twice on hard courts (in 2021 & 2022).

In the first of the women's semifinals, seventh-seeded Jasmine Paolini will take on the battling Croat Donna Vekic, ranked some 30 places below her, in a battle of shot makers.
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