By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon
- Jelena Ostapenko  def. Dominika Cibulkova 7-5 6-4
- Into the semi-final at Wimbledon for the first time
WIMBLEDON, UK – 2017 Roland Garros Champion Jelena Ostapenko will hope her twinkle toes will get her to a second Slam final.
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The Latvian has actually slipped under the radar for a lot of this tournament – the focus was first on Serena Williams on her return, then the myriad of top seeds exiting stage left, and now we are down to the final four, the spotlight is back on Ostapenko and she is a natural performer.
After all the kerfuffle of the seeding, the scrappiness and fight from Dominika Cibulkova finally petered out at the hands of Ostapenko who is hitting free having unencumbered herself from the burden of defending a Slam title in the first round of the French Open this time around.
She said: “I don’t feel any pressure. I’m just going out there and enjoying it. Probably because at the French Open a couple weeks ago I had so much pressure. It’s now all gone. I’m just enjoying the moment.”
It seems strange that this will be the first time she has come up against Angelique Kerber on the tour – as the German defeated another youngster in Daria Kasatkina. Both have solid and aggressive games, but over the past year Kerber has managed to figure Kasatkina out. She will need to hit the ground running in the semi-final to get to grips with the easy power. That being said, Ostapenko knows that she will be getting in the mileage on Thursday.
“Of course, she’s great player. It’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be a tough match. But I’m going to prepare well for it, going to be probably long rallies. I have to be very confident, aggressive, and consistent.”
Consistency sometimes can let the Latvian down, but there is one thing she might have over the determined German – a sense of rhythm and timing gained from a love of ballroom dancing.
“I did ballroom dancing from five to 12. I quit for some years, but now I’m doing it as a hobby. I think it helps a lot because you have to be very coordinated to do it, and also those small steps, which are very useful in tennis. When I’m home, I’m doing it a couple times a week.”
So, will we see her foxtrotting around the net, or perhaps a waltz?
“[My favourite is] probably samba.”
The Ladies’ semi-finals will take place on Centre Court on Thursday, from 1pm (BST).
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