Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina had not gone beyond the third round in three previous Australian Open appearances
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 16-29 January
Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra ‘Tennis Breakfast’ live from Melbourne, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website & app

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina swept past Jelena Ostapenko to reach her first Australian Open semi-final.

Rybakina fired 11 aces and 24 winners as she claimed a dominant 6-2 6-4 victory over Latvia’s Ostapenko.

The Kazakh wrapped up victory in one hour and 19 minutes following a lengthy rain delay on Rod Laver Arena.

Rybakina, seeded 22nd, will face either American world number three Jessica Pegula or two-time champion Victoria Azarenka for a place in the final.

“I’m super happy to be in the semi-finals for the first time,” said Rybakina, the youngest player left in the women’s draw.

“Of course I was nervous, especially in the last game. I’m super happy I managed the emotions and I played really well today.”

Despite earning the most prestigious title of her career with her surprise success at Wimbledon, Rybakina dropped to 25th in the world – where she remains – because ranking points were not awarded at the grass court major.

She subsequently spoke about not feeling like a Grand Slam champion and began her Melbourne campaign on court 13 rather than a show-court.

Restored to the main stage at Melbourne Park, she followed up her stunning win over top seed Iga Swiatek with another devastating display against 2017 French Open winner Ostapenko.

In a meeting between two of the three major champions still standing among the last eight, Rybakina made a confident start as she broke 17th seed Ostapenko’s serve in the opening game.

She set up another opportunity in game five with her powerful shot-making before play was suspended by rain, returning after a wait of around half an hour to clinch a double break lead and ultimately serve out the set under the roof.

Ostapenko threatened a fightback with a break at the start of set two but Rybakina swiftly extinguished those hopes, recording successive breaks in reply to bring her second major semi-final into focus.

She went on to seal the match in fitting fashion, sending down a final ace to extend her tournament-leading tally to 35.

She added: “I will watch my opponents [tonight] but at the same time I need to rest and prepare for another tough match and battle.”



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