Wimbledon, July 10: Jelena Ostapenko reached her first Wimbledon semi-final with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Dominika Cibulkova on Tuesday (July 10).
Serena Williams, meanwhile, survived the toughest test of her campaign so far as she came from a set down to beat Camila Giorgi and reach the semi-finals.
Williams' seemingly inevitable march to the final of a women's singles tournament in which none of the top 10 seeds remain continued at pace against Evgeniya Rodina as she eased into the last eight, but the seven-time Wimbledon champion needed to use much more of her reserves against Giorgi.
The Italian's comments ahead of the match that she does not follow tennis will have raised eyebrows but, competing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final, she troubled Williams significantly with her movement and power and took the first set.
However, a huge missed opportunity to break in the second proved the turning point and Williams hit the accelerator, outgunning Giorgi in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph that edges her closer to the final and a record-tying 24th slam. Julia Goerges will be the next to try to end her hopes.
Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion who's previous best at the All England Club was the quarter-finals last year, remained on course to land her second Grand Slam title thanks to a relatively comfortable win on No 1 Court.
Ostapenko will now face Angelique Kerber in the last four, following a straight-sets victory for the German against Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5.
After making a break in the opening game, Ostapenko fell behind as Cibulkova battled back to fuel her own hopes of progressing beyond the quarter-finals for the first time.
A delightful drop shot saw the Latvian bring the set back on serve, however, before a backhand winner down the line delivered a break that left her to successfully serve for a 1-0 lead.
Cibulkova - fresh from dropping a set for the first time in this year's tournament - struggled on her own serve in the second and, trailing by two breaks to one, showed tremendous resolve to battle back from 0-30 down to hold for 4-3.
But Ostapenko won the next game to love to move one away and, after another challenging hold for the Slovakian, a backhand winner wrapped up a maiden victory over Cibulkova for the 12th seed.
Kasatkina gave another demonstration of her immense natural talent, but the 21-year-old made 31 unforced errors and double-faulted seven times as she lacked composure at key moments in an entertaining quarter-final.
Kerber, runner-up at the All England Club during a 2016 season in which she claimed both of her major titles, eventually ended the Russian's resistance after she saved six match points.
The German had a little too much nous for the unpredictable Kasatkina and will try to grab her first Wimbledon title.
STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN Ostapenko bt Cibulkova 7-5, 6-4
WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS Ostapenko – 32/28 Cibulkova – 6/13
ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS Ostapenko – 5/3 Cibulkova – 1/5
BREAK POINTS WON Ostapenko – 5/11 Cibulkova - 3/3
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE Ostapenko - 55 Cibulkova - 58
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE Ostapenko – 66/58 Cibulkova – 67/27
TOTAL POINTS Ostapenko – 70 Cibulkova - 56