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Elena Rybakina justifies favourite tag with last-eight win over Elina Svitolina

Elena Rybakina smashed 28 winners during a one-sided contest on Centre Court in front of the Queen.

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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.

Fourth seed Rybakina struck 28 winners and seven aces during a one-sided 61-minute battle which took place in front of the Queen.

Elena Rybakina and Elina Svitolina shake hands
Elena Rybakina and Elina Svitolina shake hands (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Oh, wow. I didn’t even see it. That’s amazing,” Rybakina responded when informed Camilla had been in the Royal Box.

The Kazakhstan representative 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.

The Ukrainian made the semi-finals last year after being handed a wild card on 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, Ukraine’s Svitolina again outlined on Monday she was fine with the Kazakhstan player due to her switch in allegiances, and the pair shook hands after their French Open meeting last month.

Queen Camilla walks to her seat in the Royal Box
Queen Camilla was in the Royal Box for the match (Mike Egerton/PA)

After breaks were exchanged at the beginning of this battle with the roof open on Centre Court, 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, where she will play Barbora Krejcikova.

Rybakina said: “Well, I think it’s only you guys telling me that I’m the only one left who won this tournament. I don’t really think about it so much!

“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.

Elena Rybakina hits a forehand
Elena Rybakina was too good for Elina Svitolina (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Of course this is something I want to achieve, I want to do again. It’s getting closer, but still there is two matches, tough opponents left.

“Again, it’s just match by match. For now it was working well, so I’m trying to continue with this mentality.”

Svitolina was magnanimous in defeat, adding: “Sometimes it’s these kind of days where you’re not playing your best, your opponent is playing great, and you don’t have so many chances.

“I had maybe one or two chances to get back into the match, but I didn’t take them.”

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