By George Sessions, PA
Russia-born Elena Rybakina fought back from a set down to beat Ajla Tomljanovic in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Rybakina, who was born in Moscow but switched international allegiance to Kazakhstan in 2018, produced a fine display to make the semi-finals of a grand slam for the first time on Wednesday.
More experienced opponent Tomljanovic took the opener before the world number 23 found her form to win 4-6 6-2 6-3 and set up a last four meeting with Simona Halep.
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This last-eight clash featured two players who had switched nationality with Tomljanovic playing under Australia for the last four years having been born in Croatia.
A lengthy third game on Court One saw Tomljanovic claim the early break and she remained solid on her own serve to move one set up.
When Rybakina double-faulted at the beginning of the second set it looked like the occasion may get the better of her, but a backhand winner brought more belief and suddenly her shots started hitting the white chalk.
Breaks were exchanged between the duo but with aces now a regular occurrence from Rybakina, it felt a matter of time before she forced a decider.
A wonderful drop shot clinched another break and a third ensured Court One were treated to another set.
Rybakina had the momentum now and a hotstreak of nine games won out of a possible 10 put her within touching distance of the last four.
Tomljanovic was able to briefly prevent what now seemed a formality before Rybakina’s 14th ace of the contest brought it to a finish after one hour and 15 minutes of action.
The 23-year-old, the first player representing Kazakhstan to make the last four at Wimbledon, said: “It is amazing.
“I am really happy I got through to the semi-final. It was a really tough match but I heard all the support. I know there is some juniors here supporting me so thank you so much.
“Hopefully it will be the same (against Halep), a good match and I will try play my best.”