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Djokovic advances to semi-finals after De Minaur withdraws; Rybakina reaches last four

Novak Djokovic reached a record 13th Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday without even kicking a ball, as former champion Elena Rybakina comfortably won after Alex de Minaur was injured.

Australian ninth seed De Minaur, 25, said at the All England Club this afternoon that he was “very saddened to withdraw due to a hip injury”.

Djokovic equaled the men’s record of reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon 13 times, moving closer to the Swiss legend’s eight singles titles.

The 37-year-old Serbian also broke the record by facing Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the men’s Grand Slam semi-finals for the 49th time.

“It’s no secret that it’s going to be the biggest match of my career but this is a unique injury,” said De Minaur, who beat Djokovic in the United Cup in January.

“When I woke up this morning I wanted to feel like a miracle, but when I was on the court there was a risk that my injury would get worse.

“One stretch, one slip, can turn a three- to six-week injury into four months.”

Djokovic will face 25th seed Musetti in an exhibition match on Sunday after beating his Italian opponent, 13th seed Taylor Fritz of the United States, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

The world number two, who had knee surgery last month, is without a title this year and is still searching for his first win over a top 10 player.

But Djokovic’s historic 25th Grand Slam victory is on the horizon after beating Holger Rune in three sets in the fourth round.

The Serbian has a 5-1 record against 22-year-old Musetti, including a come-from-behind five-set victory at the French Open last month.

“Djokovic knows the stadiums here better than me,” the Italian coach admitted.

“He is a legend everywhere and has done unthinkable things. We have played a lot and I expect a big fight.

“This is the toughest challenge in tennis, but I’m an ambitious guy and I like to be challenged. I’ll give it 100 percent.”

Ruthless Rybakina

In an earlier match on Wednesday, 2022 champion Rybakina narrowly defeated last year’s semifinalist Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 in 61 minutes to clinch the title.

The Czech 31st seed will face Barbora Krejcikova for a place in the final on Saturday after beating Jelena Ostapenko in a clash of former French Open champions.

Russian-born Rybakina, who has a 19-2 record in main draw matches at Wimbledon, beat Ukraine’s 21st seed four times in the match on Centre Court.

The fourth seed was broken in the first game ahead of Queen Camilla, but fought back immediately and hardly made a mistake after that.

The 25-year-old, who has 28 wins to Svitolina’s eight, said she had “great memories” from 2022 but did not like being labelled a favourite.

“I have an aggressive style of play, my serve is very good, which is a big advantage,” he said.

Krejcikova won the first set against Latvian 13th seed Ostapenko with a singles break on court No. 1.

Ostapenko, a 2018 Wimbledon semi-finalist, extended her lead to 3-1 in the fourth game of the second set and backed it up with a hold.

But things took a dramatic turn as Krejcikova won the next four games to take a 5-4 lead.

Ostapenko managed to break her Czech opponent in the 10th game but 2021 French Open champion Krejcikova played a calmer tie-break to secure the victory.

“I told myself that I would leave everything I had here and I am so happy that I did it. This is a great moment for me,” Krejcikova said.

The victory for the 28-year-old came after a poor 2024 campaign marred by injuries and illness.

The athlete, who reached the quarter-finals in Birmingham last month, had the opportunity to celebrate a match win for the first time since Abu Dhabi in February.

“It was a very, very difficult time. Actually, it was very difficult even before this tournament,” he said.

Wimbledon results – Wednesday

Men’s quarterfinals

Lorenzo Musetti (ITA x25) beat Taylor Fritz (USA x13) 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1

Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) beat Alex De Minaur (AUS x9) – win by default

Women’s quarterfinals

Barbora Krejcikova (CZE x31) beat Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x13) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)

Elena Rybakina (KAZ x4) beat Elina Svitolina (UKR x21) 6-3, 6-2