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Barbora Krejcikova tames Jelena Ostapenko to reach semi-finals

The former French Open winner is through to a first Wimbledon semi-final.

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Latvian livewire Jelena Ostapenko blew herself out as Barbora Krejcikova reached her first Wimbledon semi-final.

Ostapenko had blitzed her way through the women’s draw, dropping only 15 games in four matches with a ferocious flurry of winners.

But when the unforced errors started to creep well above the winner count on Court One, Krejcikova was able to take advantage.

A blink-and-you-miss-it quarter-final encounter did not feature a rally of more than eight shots, but Krejcikova made hers count in a 6-4 7-6 (4) victory to set up a last-four showdown with 2022 winner Elena Rybakina.

“I don’t have the words right now,” she said. “I was so much into the game I told myself I’m going to give it everything I have and I’m really happy that I did. It’s an unbelievable moment for me.”

The two former Roland Garros champions had contrasting starts to the match, Ostapenko racing through her first service game in less than two minutes and Krejcikova opening with two double faults.

But the 28-year-old Czech, who was still playing doubles late on Tuesday night, not only held serve but then broke Ostapenko in the next.

It proved pivotal with Krejcikova barely missing a first serve as Ostapenko, who had previously not dropped more than three games in a set at these Championships, found herself behind in a match for the first time.

Jelena Ostapenko challenges a call
Jelena Ostapenko challenges a call (Aaron Chown/PA)

Suddenly some of the fearsome groundstrokes which have been hitting the lines all fortnight were not finding their target.

Ostapenko would do well to get a sponsorship tie-up with a certain high-end watch company, given she uses up every Hawkeye challenge available to her. None were successful.

But the 27-year-old from Riga hit her stride in game four of the second set, a thumping cross-court winner bringing up break point which Krejcikova surrendered with a return into the net.

A battling hold in a game of six deuces felt significant, but in Ostapenko’s next service game she coughed up two double faults as Krejcikova moved back on to her opponent’s shoulder.

Into the tie-break and Krejcikova served beautifully again before taking the first of three match points to cap a composed display and a well-deserved victory.

Ostapenko said: “She played pretty good today, but I think it’s more about I was maybe not going for the shots as much as I had to.

“I feel like I’m on the right path. Just day by day I’m getting better.

“It’s not every day you will feel great. You just have to try and find your game when you’re not feeling good. I think I can only take positive things from here.”

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