Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic has capitulated to lose her quarter-final at Wimbledon to Russian-born Kazakh Elena Rybakina 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
After coming into the match to erase memories of last year’s 6-1, 6-3 quarter-final defeat to eventual champion Ash Barty, Tomljanovic made an appearance after taking the first set against the 23-year-old.
Tomljanovic broke Rybakina in the third game of the opening set as she anticipated an approach and hit an effective forehand lob to take the break.
And from there she was dominant, hitting 9 winners and making only 3 unforced errors as she took the opening set without hitting a break point.
Her lead was built by pushing Rybakina back behind the baseline, while the unforced errors came from the Kazakh’s backhand, but also dulled her big serve.
It was the first set Rybakina had dropped throughout the tournament, but it didn’t dent her confidence.
She came out and broke Tomljanovic in the second game of the second set before the Australian immediately tied the score again, but at 3-2 to Rybakina, the game turned dramatically in favor of the world’s number 23.
Rybakina again broke for a 4-2 lead and rattled 11 straight runs to tie the game as unforced errors poured out of Tomljanovic’s forehand at a rapid pace.
It wasn’t a setback that Tomljanovic was able to overcome as Rybakina broke her again with ease for a 2-0 lead in the final set turning it into a run of 6 straight games, then consolidated by holding on to love it was seven.
Tomljanovic then tried to dig in and got one of the breaks back and saved a match point, but in the end to no avail as Rybakina’s power play won as she secured a place in her first-ever grand slam semi-final with 34 winners and 28 unforced errors against only 14 winners from Tomljanovic and 21 unforced errors, 18 of which were in the last two sets.
The win made Rybakina the first Kazakh woman to reach the semifinals of a grand slam, an achievement she was proud of.
“It’s great and I’m very happy,” Rybakina said.
“It was a really tough game.
“I started a bit slow, I didn’t serve very well, maybe I was a bit nervous and Ajla defended really well.
“I was just trying to focus on my serve to find my way, and I found it.”
Rybakina will face 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep in that meeting, after Romanian Amanda defeated Anisimova 6-2, 6-4.
Halep’s game against Anisimova looked to be as easy as her first four wins at this year’s tournament, but the 20th-seeded American broke Halep when she served 5-2 for the game.
Anisimova then had three more breakpoints when Halep served again for the game at 5-4, but the Romanian won five straight points to close out the game.
“She was able to crush the ball in the end, and I really didn’t know what to do,” Halep said.
“But I just believed in myself. I said to stay there, strong on my feet.”
The pair join German veteran Tatjana Maria and Tunisian third seed Ons Jabeur in the women’s semifinals.
Posted † updated