Aryna Sabalenka came through a captivating encounter with Ons Jabeur in two sets to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time.
Two of tennis’ form female players collided on Centre Court on Tuesday, and it was Sabalenka who prevailed 6-4 6-3 to end Jabeur’s impressive run at SW19.
The second will play eighth seed Karolina Pliskova in the semis, the former world number one who beat Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-2 earlier on Tuesday to reach the Wimbledon semis for the first time as well.
Sabalenka said afterwards: “I’m really happy, it’s always tough against Ons, she’s such an amazing person, great player. I’m really happy I could win here today. Guys, you make this place special, thanks so much for your support. The atmosphere was unbelievable today.
“Sometimes it’s really tricky, shots on the grass. It’s tough to do anything with the ball but I’m happy I’m still here, somehow I found a way to win.
“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past [against Pliskova], you never know. It’s going to be tough, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
It was an aggressive start out on Centre as both players, who each had a Tour-high 31 victories in 2021 heading into this match, looked to carry momentum with them from Monday’s fourth-round wins.
The first set remained on serve until the first real test came for Jabuer, who at 5-4 down was forced to save four break and set points.
But at the fifth time of asking, Sabalenka broke to assume a one-set lead, a reward for her fearless start despite the fact this was her first quarter-final in any Grand Slam.
Jabuer brought up three break points immediately in the second set, but Sabalenka saved them all and then broke to edge in front.
Having recovered from one set down to beat Garbine Muguruza and Iga Swiatek, Jabuer was not done yet, and she rallied to bring the second set back on serve.
Sabalenka then saved break point in the fifth game before holding, and a compelling match-up then saw the Belarussian break in the eighth game before serving it out.