Favourite Rybakina bids to reach Wimbledon semis

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Image caption: Rybakina lost to Ons Jabeur in last year’s quarter-finals at Wimbledon

Elena Rybakina says being the only former Wimbledon singles champion left in the women’s draw will boost her confidence as she seeks a repeat.
The Kazakh won her maiden Grand Slam title and lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish when she defeated Ons Jabeur in the 2022 final.
As the highest-ranked player remaining this year, the fourth seed is widely seen as an overwhelming favourite to secure the famous trophy once more.

Rybakina faces Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina as their quarter-final opens up play on Centre Court on Wednesday at 13:30 BST.
Following that, Novak Djokovic will return to Centre Court to face Alex de Minaur – two days after accusing fans of being disrespectful towards him during a fourth-round win against Holger Rune.
On Court One, Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko plays Czech Barbora Krejcikova in a match between former French Open winners at 13:00 BST before Italian Lorenzo Musetti goes up against 13th seed Taylor Fritz.
‘Still a lot of good players’ for Rybakina to get past
Rybakina said her Wimbledon triumph from two years ago can only help her to an extent this time.
“I don’t really think about this when I go on the court,” she said. “Of course it gives more confidence, but no matter what there are still a lot of good players.”
As for being a firm favourite, Rybakina said: “It feels good if people think so, but it’s still far to go to the final. There are a lot of matches in front of me. Definitely I want to go far and try to win.”
The 25-year-old will take belief from her most recent meeting with 21st seed Svitolina, a player she defeated in straight sets at the French Open last month.
Attempting to reach the semi-finals in SW19 for a second year running, Svitolina returns after an emotional win over China’s Wang Xinyu in the fourth round.
She said it was “one of the most difficult matches in my life” after learning in the morning that Russian strikes had killed dozens of people and seriously damaged a children’s hospital in her native Ukraine.
Asked if she would shake hands with Russian-born Rybakina, who changed allegiance in 2018 after receiving greater financial support from Kazakhstan, Svitolina said: “She changed her nationality, so it means she doesn’t want to represent her original country, so it works.”
Meanwhile, Djokovic continues his bid for a record-equalling eighth Wimbledon title when he takes on Australian ninth seed Alex de Minaur, who is into his first Wimbledon quarter-final.
Djokovic accused some of the Centre Court crowd of using a Holger Rune chant as “an excuse to boo” him on Monday, and he was backed up by American tennis legend John McEnroe who estimated the Serb had been disrespected at least 100 times in his career.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Fritz to use experience of Djokovic and Nadal defeats
Court One will stage a major test for in-form 13th seed Ostapenko, who has yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament and is attempting to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the first time since 2018.
She faces a tricky opponent in Krejcikova, albeit Ostapenko has won five of their seven previous encounters.
American Fritz will be hoping to build on his previous Grand Slam quarter-final experience when he plays Musetti, who has reached the last eight of a major for the first time.
Fritz has never advanced past the quarter-finals of a Slam in three attempts, falling to Djokovic twice, while he lost to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2022.
“This will be my first quarter-final where I’m the more experienced person in Slam quarter-finals, having played Novak twice and Rafa once,” Fritz said.
“Hopefully that will help me a little bit.”

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