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Tennis-Krejcikova proud of unexpected Wimbledon semis run after Ostapenko win

Wimbledon

By Christian Radnedge

LONDON (Reuters) -Barbora Krejcikova is no stranger to deep runs at Grand Slams but the Czech surprised herself by reaching her first Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday with a 6-4 7-6(4) win over Latvian 13th seed Jelena Ostapenko in a clash of former French Open winners.

The 31st seed kept her composure from the back of the court to force her opponent into 35 unforced errors across the match as Ostapenko’s bid for a second Grand Slam title since her first in 2017 unravelled on Court One which, on a rare occasion this tournament, had its roof open.

The 28-year-old, who has won a combined 10 major titles in women’s and mixed doubles, meets 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the semis hoping to continue her hunt for a second singles Grand Slam trophy since her 2021 Roland Garros triumph.

“I didn’t have a really good season in between Australia and now. I was out, ill and injured, this and that,” Krejcikova told reporters late in the evening after her doubles match.

“I was always coming back and getting ill again. I was going through very tough and difficult moments.

“Yeah, I didn’t really expect to get this far and I’m really proud of myself for getting this far.”

Ostapenko can be a dangerous opponent for even the best players and she had the power in her serve, but the 27-year-old struggled to place it, landing less than 50% of her first serves during the opening set.

Krejcikova broke in the third game and went on to clinch the first set.

Ostapenko rallied to break her opponent in the second and open a 4-1 lead. However, mistakes once again dogged her game as she went from ruefully smiling one minute and ranting at her coaches in the player’s box the next.

RYBAKINA UP NEXT

Krejcikova stayed focused and put together a run of four winning games to go 5-4 up. However, she was broken when serving for the match as Ostapenko extended her stay in the tournament a little while the sun peeked through the clouds.

The match went to a tiebreak and a brilliant crosscourt forehand from Krejcikova found the far line to give her a mini-break from which she went on to close out the match, sealing her first win over the Latvian in their four most recent encounters.

“I told myself I’m going to leave everything here I have and I’m really happy that I did,” Krejcikova said on court earlier.

“It’s an unbelievable moment that I’m experiencing right now in my tennis career.”

That Krejcikova has won five consecutive matches on grass for the first time in her career is all the more remarkable given she only had three wins on the Tour in February to June this year as she recovered from illness.

“There have been many doubts from inside but also from the outside world, but I’m super happy that I never give up and that I’m standing here right now,” she said.

Krejcikova heads into the clash with Rybakina having won their previous two clashes but is not expecting an easy outing on a surface where the Moscow-born Kazakh excels.

“She’s a great player, a former champion here. She knows the court. She knows how to play on grass. She’s dangerous. She has lot of weapons,” Krejcikova said.

“… On the other hand, I do have big weapons as well. I expect that it’s going to be a big fight.”

(Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Additional reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar; Editing by Alison Williams)

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