Wimbledon: Rybakina roars into first slam final with stunning upset of Halep

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Elena Rybakina overpowered former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep 6-3 6-3 in the last four on Thursday to reach her first major final at the All England Club.

Rybakina is playing in the main draw in SW19 for only the second time, having debuted in 2021.

Yet the Kazakh looks every bit as accomplished on the London grass as the esteemed Halep, who had not lost at Wimbledon since 2018, taking the title in 2019.

Indeed, the Romanian met her match in Rybakina, who forged nine break point opportunities in a dominant display, aided by a flawless serve as Halep gave up a costly nine double-faults.

Despite being one of the game's great returners, Halep found herself on the back foot right from the outset.

She faced break points in each of her four service games in the opener, with a rampant Rybakina decisively seizing the first of them as she dictated play from the back of the court.

Rybakina's power continued to cause problems for Halep, although a trio of double-faults – including to both set up and secure the break point – were to blame as the first-time semi-finalist was gifted an early lead again in the second set.

That advantage was cancelled out in similarly generous fashion, with four straight unforced errors seeing Rybakina unexpectedly broken to love.

However, normal service was swiftly resumed as Rybakina won a sublime rally to tee up another break, and there was time for one final flourish as a sensational return from the 23-year-old left Halep rooted and wrapped up victory in 77 minutes.

Data slam: Simona's semi-final struggles

Losing at Wimbledon may have been an unfamiliar feeling for Halep after 12 straight wins at the tournament, including 10 in straight sets, but she is becoming all too accustomed to failing in the last four.

Excluding walkovers, this was the Romanian's fourth consecutive semi-final defeat. For Rybakina, it was a first win at this stage of any tournament on grass.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Rybakina – 13/16
Halep – 16/15

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Rybakina – 5/0
Halep – 0/9

BREAK POINTS WON

Rybakina – 3/9
Halep – 1/1

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