July 11, 2017 / 7:19 PM / a year ago

Rybarikova fairy tale continues as she storms into semis

LONDON (Reuters) - Unseeded Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova stormed into the Wimbledon semi-finals by routing Coco Vandeweghe 6-3 6-3 on Tuesday in a rain-plagued match that was halted for hours before being moved beneath the roof of Centre Court.

Tennis - Wimbledon - London, Britain - July 11, 2017 Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova celebrates winning the quarter final match against Coco Vandeweghe of the U.S. REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

The world number 87, who describes her Wimbledon adventure as a “fairy tale”, did not allow the disruption to shake her form or focus and produced a sparkling display of grasscourt tennis to close out the quarter-final against the American.

Rybarikova is the lowest-ranked player for almost a decade to reach the women’s last four, where she will face Spain’s 14th seed Garbine Muguruza, and the first Slovak to do so.

Tennis - Wimbledon - London, Britain - July 11, 2017 Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova celebrates winning the quarter final match against Coco Vandeweghe of the U.S. REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

“I can’t believe it,” she told the BBC, looking stunned after her victory. “I cannot believe I am a Wimbledon semi-finalist. I need to sleep on it to believe it.”

Slideshow (3 Images)

Her quarter-final match started on Court One, but was suspended shortly after 4 pm due to rain, with the score at 2-2 in the second set. With no sign of the weather turning, the match was moved to Centre Court, the only court with a roof.

Play resumed at about 7.20 pm and 28-year-old Rybarikova raced to the finish line.

The match was a thoroughly entertaining tussle and threw up a rare sight in the women’s game — two players willing to abandon the security of the baseline and charge to the net in the heat of battle. They even used serve-and-volley on occasion.

Big-hitting Vandeweghe’s downfall was the careless mistakes that beset her game throughout, leaving her increasingly frustrated. The 25-year-old American, seeded 24, notched up 30 unforced errors compared with her opponent’s eight, and double-faulted several times on crucial points.

It has been a dream run for Rybarikova, who was out of action for the second half of 2016 due to wrist and knee surgery. The last time a woman ranked lower reached a Wimbledon semi-final was in 2008 — China’s Zheng Jie, ranked 133.

Reporting by Pravin Char; Editing by Ken Ferris

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