I benefit from my experience fighting for the Australian Open

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina feels she is benefiting from the experience as she pursues her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

The 23-year-old continued her great form at Melbourne Park with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Jelena Ostapenko to advance to the semi-finals.

As expected between the two biggest hitters on the women’s tour, it was first-stroke tennis with almost three-quarters of the points decided in four sets or less.

But Rybakina was more consistent when serving, the best in the women’s game after Serena Williams retired, she produced 11 aces and was the key difference between them.

Rybakina was a surprise champion at the All England Club, but it wouldn’t be a shock if she ended up two weeks lifting the trophy here, especially in conditions favoring flat strikes.

“I think obviously I got all the Wimbledon experience and now it helps me here in Australia and I know what to expect,” she said.

“I already did it once and of course I became confident that I could do it again. I did really good preparation with the team. I’m actually not surprised by the results. I’m happy. I’m just hungry to work and improve even more.”

Much attention at Wimbledon focused on the nationality of Rybakina after the banning of Russian and Belarusian players.

Born in Moscow, she moved to Kazakhstan in 2018 after the national tennis federation offered her financial support.

Served by Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina served 11 aces (Ng Han Guan/AP)

When asked again about this here, Rybakina, who has family with her, unlike at Wimbledon, said: “I think at Wimbledon I answered all the questions and there is nothing left to say.”

Both players caused an upset in the previous round, with Rybakina defeating world number one Iga Świątek and Ostapenko defeating Coco Gauff.

The 2017 French Open Latvian champion reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in nearly five years, but made too many mistakes to put any real pressure on Rybakina.

The Kazachian woman, who is nearing the top 10 she would have placed had Wimbledon offered ranking points, broke her serve to open the match and was leading 3-1 when heavy rain caused a delay and led to the roof being closed.

Rybakina maintained her momentum after the restart of the first set, and although Ostapenko opened a 2-0 lead in the second, she could not hold it.

Ostapenko, one of the most blunt speakers on the tour, did not mince words after the match, saying: “Overall I think today’s match was on a much lower level than the last one.

“It felt like me and Coco, we had a really high level of tennis and we played really well. It’s a bit of a pity that I couldn’t show such a level of tennis today.

“Of course she served well, but I felt that in the second set, when I had longer rallies with her, I was winning most of them, so that was my goal to get her to play.

“I felt that maybe (playing) mixed doubles yesterday was a bit of a bad decision to play so late.

“But overall I think I can only take positive things from this week because it’s only the beginning of the season and if I keep working and playing the same way I think I can be a dangerous player.”

Elena Ostapenko

Jelena Ostapenko did not mince words afterwards (Dita Alangkara/AP)

Ostapenko again showed her frustration with the automatic lane calling and said that her opponent was “lucky in many moments”.

“Some of the balls weren’t a bit out of bounds, they were a bit out of bounds and didn’t get called,” she said.

Rybakina will face third seed Jessica Pegula or two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka in the last four.

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