LONDON: Kazakh 17th seed Elena Rybakina hit twice as many winners as unseeded opponent Petra Martic of Croatia on Monday (Jul 4) to progress to her maiden Wimbledon quarter-final with a 7-5 6-3 victory.
The 23-year-old Rybakina, who switched to playing for Kazakhstan from Russia aged 19, hit 26 winners in the opening contest on Court One while committing five fewer unforced errors than the 80th-ranked Martic to control the match.
Rybakina, who reached the fourth round of the grasscourt Grand Slam on her debut last year, will play either France's Alize Cornet or Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia for a place in Thursday's semi-finals.
"It means a lot to me (to be in the quarter-finals)," she said on court. "It's an amazing tournament and I was watching on TV when I was a kid so it's a dream to play on such courts. I'm just happy to go forward and we will see how it goes."
Rybakina, whose previous best result came at the French Open last year when she reached the last eight of the claycourt Grand Slam, started strongly on Monday to race to a 3-0 lead.
Martic rallied to reel in the next four games to put her nose ahead in the match only for the Kazakh to break back immediately to level things. Rybakina then got the crucial break in the 12th game to take the first set.
The second set stayed on serve till Rybakina cracked Martic's delivery in the sixth game and it proved enough for her to seal the win in an hour and 20 minutes.
"It wasn't easy at all and I want to say thank you to everyone who came to watch. The atmosphere is really amazing and I was playing for the first time on this court," Rybakina said.
"Of course I was nervous, but I started well and Petra started a bit slower and made some mistakes, then she raised her level a bit. I was trying to focus on every point and I'm very happy I managed to win that first set.
"I'm serving really well this week and hopefully I will continue to do so. It's a great advantage for me."