Jelena Ostapenko became the first Latvian to reach the Wimbledon singles semi-finals after she subdued Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 7-5 6-4 on Tuesday.
After more than a week of sizzling 30 degrees Celsius temperatures, the players struggled to find their range on a chilly and blustery Court One, where the ‘feels like’ temperature dipped to around the 14 degrees mark.
Four of the first five games went against serve before 12th seed Ostapenko’s game finally caught fire in the 11th game when she broke Cibulkova to love with a blazing backhand down-the-line winner.
Two successive aces, clocked at 103 and 106 mph, gave the 21-year-old the first set and the 2017 French Open champion tightened her grip on the contest when she ended another flurry of breaks to go 4-2 up in the second.
Cibulkova did her best to try and hang on but the Slovakian was left chasing shadows as Ostapenko blasted a backhand winner on her first match point to reach the last four without dropping a set in this year’s tournament.
She will meet German 11th seed Angelique Kerber for a place in Saturday’s final.
Kerber through to semi-finals on seventh match point
German 11th seed Angelique Kerber reached the Wimbledon semi-finals with a 6-3 7-5 win over Russian Daria Kasatkina on Tuesday but needed seven match points to see off the 14th seed.
Twice Grand Slam winner Kerber, 30, will next face Latvian 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko in the last four on Thursday.
The highest seed left in the women’s draw, 2016 finalist Kerber was 3-0 up in the first set before her 21-year-old opponent had time to react.
Kasatkina steadied herself to reach 3-4 before she double-faulted on break point and lamely surrendered the game to Kerber, who then served for the set.
That was to be the story of the match with the Russian delighting the gasping crowd with some outrageously talented returns and passing shots only to self-destruct on serve.
Kerber again broke to go 3-1 up in the second set before Kasatkina levelled for 3-3 only for another double fault to put Kerber back in the driving seat.
The Russian broke back again for 4-4 but the German replied in kind immediately.
With Kerber serving for a place in the last four, Kasatkina earned two break points with a forehand and levelled the scores before again failing to hold her serve and being left on the backfoot.
Kasatkina then saved five match points before surviving yet another thanks to Hawkeye, with Kerber’s lob landing just beyond the baseline. The German finally won through to the semis when Kasatkina’s return found the net.