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Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina celebrates winning her quarter final match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, Britain, on July 10 2024. Picture: HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS
Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina celebrates winning her quarter final match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, Britain, on July 10 2024. Picture: HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS

London — The rare sighting of the sun at this year’s Wimbledon championships provided no incentive for Elena Rybakina to linger longer than necessary on Centre Court as she ended Elina Svitolina’s quarterfinal challenge with a 6-3 6-2 defeat.

Over the course of the last five days, the grass court Major had started to resemble an indoor tournament, with matches on the two main showcourts taking place under cover.

With the retractable roof on Centre Court finally open under a clear blue sky on Wednesday, spectators flocking to the 15,000-seater arena were hoping that the Rybakina-Svitolina duel would be a long and thrilling one.

After all, this was the only singles match they were going to get to watch on day 10 of the championships since Novak Djokovic’s quarterfinal with Alex de Minaur had already been cancelled after the Australian pulled out with a hip injury, handing the Serbian a walkover.

All the fans got in return for their £200 Centre Court tickets was 1hr 1min of singles action.

Giving value for money to the punters was not exactly high on the priority list for Rybakina. All the fourth seed wanted was to take the win and move another step closer to lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish for the second time in three years — the quicker the better.

“Really pleased with the way I played today. Thank you so much guys for coming and supporting us,” Rybakina told the crowd, who might have felt they had been rather short-changed despite a mixed doubles tie and a legends’ match being moved to fill the gap.

“It’s always tough to play against Elina, she’s a great player, great fighter. No matter the score, it is not as easy as it might look like.

“I have such amazing memories from 2022 and I’m just enjoying every time I step on the court, especially when I play good. It’s just really amazing,” added Rybakina after setting up a showdown with 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova for a place in Saturday’s final.

Rybakina, the highest seed left in the women’s draw, recovered from dropping her opening service game to produce a majestic performance in front of Britain’s Queen Camilla to extend her perfect grass court record to 2-0 against the Ukrainian.

From 3-3 in the first set, Rybakina was on a roll as she won five games in a row as Svitolina kept looking at her husband Gael Monfils in the players’ box for some much needed inspiration.

Svitolina had captivated Wimbledon 12 months ago when she had cast aside four Grand Slam champions to reach the semifinals just eight months after the birth of her daughter Skai.

There would be no repeat of that magical run on Wednesday. Rybakina’s performance was so dominant and stifling, the crowd even struggled to engage with either player or get behind underdog Svitolina.

The Russian-born Kazakh, the only women’s champion left in the draw, sealed the first set with a 115mph thunderbolt and fired down another ace — her seventh of the match — to complete the one-sided victory. — Reuters

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