Second seed Aryna Sabalenka battled past a determined Elena Rybakina 6-3 4-6 6-3 in the Wimbledon fourth round on Monday to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. Rybakina broke Sabalenka in the opening game but the Kazakh, who came into the match having won a tournament-high 96% of her service games in the first three rounds, let her opponent off immediately as she failed to hold.
Belarusian Sabalenka grew in confidence as the contest on Court Three wore on, sending down two straight aces to go up 4-2 before clinching the first set when world number 20 Rybakina double-faulted.
Sabalenka needed three sets to overcome Rybakina during her title runs at Abu Dhabi this year and Wuhan in 2019 and the Belarusian trailed 3-1 in the second set before battling back to draw level but then lost her momentum.
Having made it one set apiece with her ninth ace, Rybakina held firm until 3-3 in the deciding set before dropping serve, as Sabalenka raised her level to run away with the match.
Up next for the 23-year-old world number four is Tunisian 21st seed Ons Jabeur who upset former French Open champion Iga Swiatek 5-7 6-1 6-1.