Jelena Ostapenko is the first semifinalist of 2018 Wimbledon, defeating Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals at the All-England Club.
Ostapenko hit 25 winners in defeating Cibulkova for the first time in her career as she qualifies for her second career major semifinal and will meet 11th seed Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final.
Ostapenko claims the opening set
The match began with a marathon game on Cibulkova's serve. The Slovak fought back after going down 0-40, saving five break points, Ostapenko taking the lead on her sixth chance with a volley winner.
Cibulkova hit back, breaking Ostapenko to love. The Slovak dug out of 15-30 to hold and broke the Latvian for the second time to gain a 3-1 lead.
Ostapenko would produce her own fightback to level the set at 3-3.
Both players settled down on serve and five straight holds finely balanced the set at 5-5. Ostapenko blasted three winners in the eleventh game, breaking Cibulkova to love to take a 6-5 advantage.
The 12th seed closed out the set with consecutive aces, winning the last nine points.
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Latvian closes out match in straight sets
Ostapenko struck first in the second set, breaking in the third game, seemingly in full control. Cibulkova broke back to love, but she was soon behind again, a series of errors giving the Latvian a 3-2 lead.
She was soon ahead 0-30 on the Slovak's next service game, looking to all but finish the match off. Cibulkova responded by taking the next four points to hold and stay within touch.
After a love hold, Ostapenko was two points from victory, but the Slovak fought off her advances to hold.
The Latvian served the match at 5-4, coolly holding to love, firing a backhand winner on match point.
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Ostapenko talks about Kerber matchup
Playing the German for the first time, Ostapenko knows what to expect.
After her win, she said: “She's a great player. It's going to be a battle. It's going to be a tough match, but I'm going to prepare well for it, going to be probably long rallies. I have to be very confident, aggressive, and consistent.
“I think [my confidence] is on a high level because I haven't dropped a set here yet."
She added: "And I was fighting. Of course, I was yesterday 2-5 down, today 4-5 down, and I still won the set. I think from that I gain even more confidence.”