Rybarikova had to use her protected ranking to even gain entry into the tournament and was the underdog in this clash, though the world number 87 lost serve just once against the American, who herself hit only 17 winners to a staggering 30 unforced errors in a clash that was moved onto Centre Court halfway through due to rain.
It has been an absolutely incredible few days for Rybarikova, who was ranked outside the top 400 in April and beat second seed Karolina Pliskova in the second round at the All England Club. The Slovak, who also beat Vandeweghe in the first round of the French Open, had never made it to the second week of a slam in her 35 previous attempts, though is now potentially just two wins away from a career-defining moment.
The Slovak will face 14th seed Garbine Muguruza for a place in the final.
Superb Rybarikova keeps fairytale run going
With the threat of rain looming, both women would have been hoping to seal the victory as quickly as possible, and the early stages suggested that it would be Rybarikova who prevailed. Vandeweghe played an extremely poor opening game, with two double faults helping the Slovak go a break up, and herself looked extremely comfortable herself on serve, using her variety to push the American around the court.
After an undoubtedly nervous start, Vandeweghe was slowly easing herself into the match, not giving the Slovak many opportunities on her serve as the set began to progress. However, the 24th seed was unable to generate any opportunities on her opponent’s serve, with Rybarikova seemingly unfazed by her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Her confidence continued to show, upping the pressure when leading 5-3 and breaking for a second time to take the first set in just over 30 minutes.
It had undoubtedly been a disappointing first set for Vandeweghe, though the American seemed to get herself back in the match as some big-hitting saw her break to start the second set. However, Vandeweghe was unable to build up any advantage, with Rybarikova breaking straight back. The American managed to avoid a complete turnaround, holding to level things up at 2-2, though it was here that the rain began to fall; play was suspended.
Following a delay of over three hours, the match was moved to Centre Court where it could be completed under the roof. Rybarikova got play underway once again with a tough service hold, and two double faults by Vandeweghe handed the Slovak a decisive break within ten minutes of the restart. Rybarikova held comfortably to put herself a game from victory, and though the American managed to save three match points on her own serve, the world number 87 held to love to continue her incredible run.