Wimbledon: Ons Jabeur overcomes Aryna Sabalenka in semi-final, Marketa Vondrousova ends Elina Svitolina's run

Ons Jabeur has showed that it is sometimes better to float like a butterfly than sting like a bee, as her wily artistry overcame the brutal hitting of Aryna Sabalenka to reach her second Wimbledon final with a 6-7(5) 6-4 6-3 victory on Friday (NZ time).

Jabeur, who was beaten in last year's final, looked destined to suffer more heartbreak on Centre Court when she lost the opening set, but her delicate strokeplay and clever angles eventually subdued the relentless power of Belarusian Sabalenka.

The victory set up a final between the Tunisian sixth seed and unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova, the 42nd-ranked former French Open finalist, who ended the hopes of Ukrainian Elina Svitolina earlier on Friday.

Jabeur, who also finished runner-up at last year's US Open, passed up four match points, but finally got over the line with an ace, calmly raising her arms to the sky in celebration before reflecting on some new-found mental toughness.

"I'm very proud of myself because maybe the old me would have lost the match today and went back home already, but I'm glad that I kept digging very deep and finding the strength," she said.

Ons Jabuer in action.
Ons Jabuer in action. Photo credit: Getty Images

Jabeur, who is bidding to become the first African woman as well as first Arab to win a major, has shown real steel to come through this year, becoming the first woman to defeat three top-10 opponents at Wimbledon since Serena Williams, perhaps one of the game's toughest competitors, in 2012.

Sabalenka, who missed last year's tournament due to Wimbledon's ban on Russian and Belarusian players, was as tough an opponent as she could have faced.

The second seed possessed an envious recent Grand Slam record having won the Australian Open in January and reached the last four at Roland Garros while the world No. 1 spot was hers had she beaten Jabeur.

The opening set was tight with both players seeing break points slip through their fingers before it moved into a tiebreak.

Jabeur claimed the box seat when she guided a stunning forehand down the line for a 4-2 lead but Sabalenka came roaring back, winning the next four points to set up two set points.

She let the first one go begging before Jabeur sent a return long to hand the opening set to the Belarusian, only the third that Jabeur had lost in the tournament so far.

By this point Sabalenka had started grunting loudly on serve, with some of her roars lasting so long they extended beyond her opponent's return and almost joined up with her next loud exhalation.

The second set was far more of a roller-coaster, with Sabalenka earning the first break of the match in the fifth game to go 3-2 up.

With the Belarusian's serve proving rock solid up to that point, the situation was looking bleak for Jabeur, but momentum swung quickly in her favour.

A double fault from Sabalenka gave Jabeur a break point before her opponent netted a forehand for 4-4.

The pressure was right back on the Belarusian in her next service game with Jabeur setting up a set point which she gobbled up with a backhand return down the line to level the contest.

Sabalenka saved two break points in the sixth game of the third set with two huge forehand winners that flew of her racket like bullets but when Jabeur crafted a third she had no answer, sending a backhand long to put the Tunisian within sight of the finish line.

After holding serve, Jabeur earned her first two match points on the Sabalenka serve, but the world number two again gave a demonstration of her power, saving the first with an ace and the second when Jabeur's return landed long.

That only delayed the celebrations, however, as Jabeur eased to 40-0 on her serve, again spurning the first two match points before sealing a place in the final with an ace.

Marketa Vondrousova.
Marketa Vondrousova. Photo credit: Getty Images

Earlier, Marketa Vondrousova showed there was no room for any gushing sentiment as she ended the remarkable run of new mum Elina Svitolina with a 6-3 6-3 victory over the Ukrainian to reach the Wimbledon final for the first time.

In the run-up to a first All England Club women's semi-final featuring two unseeded players, Vondrousova said Svitolina was "incredible", "amazing", "a fighter" and "a super woman" for reaching the last four of a Grand Slam nine months after giving birth to daughter Skai.

But that did not stop Vondrousova from trampling all over Svitolina's dreams and she now stands on the cusp of becoming the first unseeded woman to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish when she Jabeur in Sunday's final.

"I cannot believe it. I'm very happy that I made the final. Elina is such a fighter and a great person. It was a tough match. I'm very happy," said 42nd-ranked Vondrousova, who had never progressed beyond the second round here before this year.

"Grass was impossible for me. It's even crazier that this is happening."

Vondrousova is also one win away from completing her own phenomenal comeback story after two wrist surgeries following her runner-up finish at the French Open in 2019.

"I didn't play for six months last year and you never know if you can be at that level again. I'm just so grateful to be here and to be healthy and play tennis again," added the 24-year-old, who had fallen so far off the tennis radar that she has been playing at this year's championships without a clothing sponsor.