Shropshire Star

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

The 2022 champion progressed into the semi-finals of the Championships with a 61-minute win on Centre Court

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Elena Rybakina lived up to her billing as favourite to win Wimbledon with a ruthless 6-3 6-2 dismantling of Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals on Centre Court.

The 2022 champion produced a fine display of explosive hitting coupled with a rock-solid serve to end Svitolina’s hopes of a maiden grand slam triumph at the 42nd time of asking.

Rybakina struck 28 winners during a one-sided 61-minute battle with Svitolina, who was out-of-sorts two days on from an emotional victory over Wang Xinyu, which occurred hours after a Russian missile struck a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

Fourth seed Rybakina wrapped up victory just as the sun started to shine with a seventh ace to march into the semi-finals.

“Yeah, really pleased with the way I played today,” Rybakina said.

“It is always tough to play against Elina, she is a great player and fighter. So, no matter the score, it was not as easy as it might have looked.

Elena Rybakina shakes hands with Elina Svitolina
Elena Rybakina shakes hands with Elina Svitolina (John Walton/PA)

“Of course I have such amazing memories from 2022 and I am just enjoying every time I step on the court.

“I also don’t like it (being favourite) to be honest but definitely I have an aggressive style of play, a huge serve and it is a big advantage.

“Of course I want to go to the end but it is match by match.”

Rybakina had been tipped for a deep run in SW19 even before the withdrawal and exits of various seeds, but was up against an in-form Svitolina.

Elina Svitolina hits a forehand
Elina Svitolina could not get back into the match (Mike Egerton/PA)

Svitolina made the semi-finals last year after being handed a wild card upon her return to the tour following pregnancy, but entered this tournament as the 21st seed and got past two-time runner-up Ons Jabeur in round three.

Despite the political undertones surrounding this match, with Rybakina from Moscow, Svitolina again outlined on Monday she was fine with the Kazakhstan player due to her switch in allegiances, and the pair shook hands at their French Open meeting last month.

After breaks were exchanged at the beginning of this Centre Court battle with the roof open, Rybakina moved through the gears and did not face another break point.

The forehand of the world number four had been on point from the outset and when she sent down a 113mph ace to move 4-3 up, the writing was on the wall.

Svitolina suddenly went 0-40 down and conceded the break when she sent her backhand into the net before Rybakina closed out the 31-minute opener with another ace.

Another break followed at the start of the second set, with a first opportunity squandered after a wild forehand but corrected when Rybakina whizzed her next passing shot beyond the Ukrainian.

Two more aces established a 3-1 lead before Svitolina had problems on her serve after she sent down two double faults in the seventh game.

It helped Rybakina break again and after match point was set up via another sumptuous forehand winner, a 113mph ace booked her place in the semi-finals.

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