subscribe Support our award-winning journalism. The Premium package (digital only) is R30 for the first month and thereafter you pay R129 p/m now ad-free for all subscribers.
Subscribe now
Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina. Picture: Paul Childs
Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina. Picture: Paul Childs

London — Former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina settled herself after a slow start to reach the quarterfinals on Monday as Russian 17th seed Anna Kalinskaya retired with a right wrist problem while trailing 6-3 3-0.

Big-serving fourth seed Rybakina, who came into the match as the only woman remaining in a decimated draw to have hoisted the Venus Rosewater Dish, found herself an early break down but wasted little time fighting back to reel off the games.

The highest-ranked player left in this year’s event said she was slowly starting to tame her nerves heading into the business end, with the win over Grand Slam winner Caroline Wozniacki in the last round also helping her confidence.

“The last two matches I played really well. I was less nervous than [at] the beginning of the tournament. Every tournament you start, the first rounds are tough. You’re more nervous than other matches,” Rybakina said.

“I just played two very solid matches. So it gives more confidence. You know what to do on the court. You’re more free.”

Moscow-born Kazakh Rybakina faces 21st seed Elina Svitolina in the last eight and expected a tough test having split their previous four clashes.

“She reads the game well, defends pretty good, some slices here and there. It’s not going to be easy,” added Rybakina, who beat Svitolina when the duo met at this year’s French Open.

“If I play aggressive, I’m going to serve well, I have all the chances to win.

“I’ll try to focus on myself and see how it goes.”

Svitolina powered into the quarterfinals with a 6-2 6-1 victory over China’s Wang Xinyu but the result was secondary for the tearful Ukrainian whose thoughts were on the war back home.

Shortly after setting up a showdown with Rybakina, Svitolina burst into tears in her postmatch interview over the news that Ukraine’s main children's hospital in Kyiv had been hit by missile strikes.

“It was a good performance from my side today. It’s difficult today for Ukrainian people,” said Svitolina, before breaking down.

The 21st seed wore a black ribbon on her white top on Monday.

“It wasn’t easy to focus today on the match. Since the morning it was difficult to read the news. To go on the court is extremely is tough,” she added.

Russia rained missiles down on cities across Ukraine in broad daylight, killing at least 36 civilians and badly damaging the hospital in the deadliest air strike in months, officials said.

Reuters

subscribe Support our award-winning journalism. The Premium package (digital only) is R30 for the first month and thereafter you pay R129 p/m now ad-free for all subscribers.
Subscribe now

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.