Elena Rybakina downs Simona Halep to make history as Kazakhstan’s first Wimbledon finalist
Kazakhstan’s No 1 Elena Rybakina stunned former champion Simona Halep in straight sets to reach a maiden Wimbledon final.
The 23-year-old’s relentless display of powerful hitting proved too much for 2019 winner Halep as a 6-3 6-3 victory booked a Saturday showdown with third seed Ons Jabeur.
Rybakina’s serve has been a great weapon, and she leads the WTA Tour aces chart.
Rybakina roars onto the biggest stage
The 23-year-old defeats Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 to reach her first Grand Slam final#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/u0jfhZlDEA
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 7, 2022
Halep had blitzed her way past seeded opponents Paula Badosa and Amanda Anisimova as she looked for a third major title.
But the Romanian could not buy a first serve, with nine double faults to Rybakina’s five aces telling its own story.
It was a double fault, followed by a fizzing forehand winner, that gave Rybakina an early break.
But the pressure from Rybakina was telling and another double fault brought up a set point which Halep also had to negotiate to hold for 5-3.
It was just putting off the inevitable, though, with a 118mph ace giving Rybakina three set points.
Halep saved two but when a forehand floated wide Rybakina had impressively clinched the first set in 37 minutes.
Things went from bad to worse for Halep at the start of the second with two more double faults, the second on break point, putting Rybakina seemingly in control.
This time Halep was able to break back, but her good work was immediately undone by another serving blip.
At 5-3 on the Halep serve Rybakina struck the killer blow, a booming backhand down the line to secure her place in the final.
"It's time to enjoy and really have fun on court"
Elena Rybakina is excited to face @Ons_Jabeur in a Wimbledon final#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/J0o9RlShFJ
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 7, 2022
“Simona is a great champion but I was really focused today and really happy with my performance,” she said.
“I was nervous, of course, but the matches I had before on Court One helped. It was my first time on Centre Court but the atmosphere I had before helped me a lot.
“I think today I was mentally prepared and did everything I could. It was an amazing match.
“Ons is a very good, very tricky player and it’s not going to be easy to play her drop shots. But I think it’s going to be a great match.”
Jessica Pegula saves match points to beat ‘fearless’ Anastasia Potapova, up next the in-form Elena Rybakina
Jessica Pegula sets up Elena Rybakina showdown in Miami.
Stefanos Tsitsipas slams ‘pretty bad’ ATP rule after being ‘forced’ to play while injured in Indian Wells
Stefanos Tsitsipas unimpressed by ATP rules.
Mystery over Carlos Alcaraz post match message is resolved
The mystery over Carlos Alcaraz’s post-match message has been cleared up.
Bianca Andreescu issues update after horror injury at Miami Open
Bianca Andreescu has issued an update on her condition.
Naomi Osaka backs herself to return and win a Grand Slam
Naomi Osaka will be back and wants to win another Grand Slam.
Watch: Andrey Rublev moved by heartfelt fan message
Andrey Rublev says he wants to hug fan after reading an emotional message.
Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner win early to book last eight spots in Miami
Jannik Sinner and Taylor Fritz scored wins with minimum fuss.
Frances Tiafoe fires up compatriot Chris Eubanks for Miami Open win
Frances Tiafoe has been credited with firing up Chris Eubanks.
Taylor Fritz’s girlfriend Morgan Riddle is a big tennis influencer after Netflix exposure
Taylor Fritz’s girlfriend Morgan Riddle has become one of the biggest influencers in tennis.
Davis Cup Finals group stage to come to Manchester
Great Britain will take on three other teams in September at the AO Arena, with the top two progressing to the ‘Final 8’.