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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Wimbledon PIX: Konta makes history, Muguruza, Venus race into semis

Wimbledon PIX: Konta makes history, Muguruza, Venus race into semis

Last updated on: July 12, 2017 00:55 IST

PHOTOS from day seven of the Wimbledon championships at the All England Lawn Tennis in London on Tuesday

Konta makes history by beating Halep in quarter-final epic

Johanna Konta

IMAGE: Johanna Konta of Great Britain plays a forehand during the Ladies Singles quarter final match against Simona Halep of Romania. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Johanna Konta sealed a Wimbledon semi-final spot on Tuesday in a feast of tension-filled tennis, powering past Simona Halep 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4 to become the first British woman to reach the last four in almost 40 years.

The second-seeded Romanian shaded the early Centre Court exchanges, pouncing on errors and breaking serve to lead 3-0, as the Briton struggled to keep her searing groundstrokes in court.

But with cheers and cries of "C'mon Jo" echoing around the roofed-in arena, sixth seed Konta fought back, cranking up her serve and winning eight straight points to draw level at 4-4.

Simona Halep

IMAGE:  Simona Halep of Romania plays a forehand . Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Halep won the first set on a tiebreak with Konta, having squandered a clutch of break points, returning the favour in the second.

The intensity moved up a notch in the third set as the Briton hit harder and the Romanian tightened her defence, before Konta broke in the fifth game and held her nerve to serve the match out.

Virginia Wade was the last British woman to reach the semi-finals in 1978.

Muguruza races past Kuznetsova

Garbine Muguruza

IMAGE: Garbine Muguruza of Spain plays a forehand during the Ladies Singles quarter final match against Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images.

Spain's 2015 runner-up Garbine Muguruza advanced confidently into the Wimbledon semi-finals with a calmly efficient and well-controlled 6-3, 6-4 victory over Russian seventh seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion who lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final the previous year, had just that bit more control in a hard-hitting baseline duel to follow up her victory over top seed Angelique Kerber on Monday..

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Muguruza, seeded 14th, saved a tricky break point on her second service game - the only one she faced all match - but roared back to break to love en route to taking the first set.

Another early break in the second piled the pressure on Kuznetsova, the 32-year-old Russian with two grand slam titles to her name who was appearing in the quarter-finals for the first time in 10 years, and she was rarely able to threaten.

Muguruza, who has reached the last four for the loss of one set, brought up match point with an ace down the middle and won it courtesy of another big serve to earn a semi-final meeting with Magdalena Rybarikova or Coco Vandeweghe.

Venus rises again to stop Ostapenko in her tracks

Venus Williams

IMAGE: Venus Williams of the United States plays a forehand during the Ladies Singles quarter final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images .

Venus Williams handed out another lesson to one of Wimbledon's young upstarts when she beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 7-5 to become the oldest women's semi-finalist for 23 years.

The five-times champion, who turned 37 last month, tamed the big-hitting Latvian with a rock-solid performance under the Centre Court roof, winning with something to spare.

Williams, who had already disposed of a 21-year-old and two teenagers en route to her 38th grand slam quarter-final, barely flinched against the 20-year-old French Open champion whose magnificent 11-match winning run in majors came to an end.

The American, who must scroll back to the 2008 Wimbledon for her seventh, and most recent, grand slam singles title, broke Ostapenko's serve in the second game and was untroubled in taking the opener in 29 minutes.
She sealed it when her 13th-seeded opponent swished at thin air on an attempted forehand service return.

Ostapenko was subdued as Williams secured an early break in the second set, although she got a helping hand back into the match when Williams double-faulted to drop serve.

That had the effect of lighting the Ostapenko fuse and she began to look threatening as she held serve to love with an ace to move 4-3 ahead on a gloomy Centre Court.

Williams had to serve to stay in the second set at 4-5 and was relieved to see an Ostapenko return land narrowly wide at 30-30 before squaring the set.

Ostapenko felt the pressure in the next game when a hurried forehand into the net gave Williams the break and the veteran needed no second invitation, holding serve to love to claim victory.

Rybarikova fairy tale continues

Magdalena Rybarikova

IMAGE: Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia reacts at match point and victory during the Ladies Singles quarter final match against Coco Vandeweghe of the United States. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Unseeded Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova stormed into the Wimbledon semi-finals by routing Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-3 in a rain-plagued match that was halted for hours before being moved beneath the roof of Centre Court.

The world number 87, who describes her Wimbledon adventure as a "fairy tale", did not allow the disruption to shake her form or focus and produced a sparkling display of grasscourt tennis to close out the quarter-final against the American.

Rybarikova is the lowest-ranked player for almost a decade to reach the women's last four, where she will face Spain's 14th seed Garbine Muguruza, and the first Slovak to do so.

"I can't believe it," she told the BBC, looking stunned after her victory. "I cannot believe I am a Wimbledon semi-finalist. I need to sleep on it to believe it."

Her quarter-final match started on Court One, but was suspended shortly after 4 pm due to rain, with the score at 2-2 in the second set. With no sign of the weather turning, the match was moved to Centre Court, the only court with a roof.

Play resumed at about 7.20 pm and 28-year-old Rybarikova raced to the finish line.

The match was a thoroughly entertaining tussle and threw up a rare sight in the women's game -- two players willing to abandon the security of the baseline and charge to the net in the heat of battle. They even used serve-and-volley on occasion.

Big-hitting Vandeweghe's downfall was the careless mistakes that beset her game throughout, leaving her increasingly frustrated. The 25-year-old American, seeded 24, notched up 30 unforced errors compared with her opponent's eight, and double-faulted several times on crucial points.

It has been a dream run for Rybarikova, who was out of action for the second half of 2016 due to wrist and knee surgery. The last time a woman ranked lower reached a Wimbledon semi-final was in 2008 -- China's Zheng Jie, ranked 133.

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