Australian Open: Kazakh Elena Rybakina cruises past Jelena Ostapenko into women's semi-finals

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has become the first player into the Australian Open semi-finals, outmuscling Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 in a one-sided contest on Rod Laver Arena.

The Russian-born Kazakh looked sharp from the start and only a 25-minute delay to close the stadium roof against a passing shower prevented her from wrapping up the opening set within  half-an-hour of arriving on court.

Former French Open champion Ostapenko looked unable to cope with Rybakina's pace and power in the opening stanza, but ramped up her own fierce groundstrokes to break for a 2-0 lead at the start of the second.

Jelena Ostapenko congratulates Elena Rybakina at the Australian Open
Jelena Ostapenko congratulates Elena Rybakina at the Australian Open. Photo credit: Getty Images

Rybakina, 23, who ousted top seed Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, broke straight back and saved four breakpoints with some brilliant tennis in the next game to consolidate. She rode the momentum to break her Latvian opponent again for a 3-2 lead and then it was only a matter of looking after her impressive serve.

There were some jitters, as Rybakina served for a place in her second Grand Slam semi-final, but she sealed the deal on her third matchpoint, with her 11th ace of the contest.

"I'm super happy to be in the semi-finals for the first time," said Rybakina. "Of course, I was nervous, particularly in the last game, but I'm happy I managed my emotions.

"I played really well today."

Ostapenko was clearly second best, but might take solace at her best Grand Slam showing, since she reached the 2018 Wimbledon semi-finals, a year after winning the Roland Garros title.

Seeded 22nd, only because ranking points were not awarded at last year's Wimbledon, Rybakina will next play the winner between third-seeded American Jessica Pegula and twice Melbourne Park champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

"For sure, I'm going to watch it," she said. "But at the same time, I need to forget about tennis just for a few hours, to rest the mind, then prepare for another tough match."