The first of the women’s quarter-finals pitched the diminutive Slovak Dominika Cibulkova against the Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenk in what was a true contest of even matched power players.
Both players arrived in the last eight without dropping a set and there was no testing your opponent as the two opened up with fierce baseline exchanges with the Ostapenko forehand clearly well on form.
Dominika was playing great, but I'm fighting until the end and I'm gaining more confidence Jelena Ostapenko
As a result Cibulkova concentrated where possible, on the backhand side of the former French Open champion.
The pair exchanged breaks twice in the opening set but the one Ostapenko manufactured in the 11th game to love, proved crucial as she stepped up to serve it out with another love game, finishing it off with two consecutive aces on her ninth consecutive point.
With momentum behind her, Ostapenko broke for 2-1 in the second thanks to Cibulkova’s ninth unforced error of the match. The Slovak shrugged that off and immediately broke back to love only to find herself again behind on serve, a position she was not able to rectify as Ostapenko then strolled through to a well-deserved 7-5 6-4 victory after 82-minutes of intense play.
“It was a really tough match and I was just trying to enjoy it,” Ostapenko, the first Latvian woman to make the Wimbledon semi-finals, said as she came off court. “I think she played really well — I was down in the first set but I was fighting until the end.”
Ostapenko, the Junior Wimbledon champion four years ago, added “It’s really great to be in the semis. I’m just enjoying being here.
“Dominika was playing great, but I’m fighting until the end and I’m gaining more confidence.”
Spectators will have noticed she iced her left leg at change-overs to relieve a self-inflicted bruise caused by slapping herself in frustration following a bad shot.
“I hit myself when I missed a shot. It was too hard so I had to ice it,” she explained.
Ostapenko faces Angelique Kerber for a place in the final.