Thanks for tuning into Sportstar's live coverage of the women's singles semifinals at Wimbledon 2022.

This was Nihit Sachdeva taking you through the action as it unfolded on Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, United Kingdom.

 

Wimbledon will have a first-time women's champion as Tunisia's Ons Jabeur will take on Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina in the final on Saturday.

 

SECOND SET (* denotes server)

Halep* 3-6 Rybakina - Halep serving to stay in the match. Big first serve a 15-all for the Romanian. Follows it up with another. Need to close this now. Slow second serve from Halep and Rybakina unleashes the brutal forehand directly at Halep. Ninth double fault from Halep and it is 40-all. Halep hits the forehand wide and it is match point for Rybakina. Wide serve from Halep and Rybakina's backhand return down the line finds the corner!!! Rybakina becomes the first Kazakh player to reach a Grand Slam final and with this, women's tennis is set to have a new Grand Slam champion.

 

Halep 3-5 Rybakina* - Rybakina serves. The forehand is back for the Kazakh - 15-0. Halep's backhand goes long - 30-0. Bullet serve from Rybakina at 30-15. Halep challenged the call but the technology showed the ball was way inside the line. An ace to seal the game. Rybakina is a game away from history.

Halep* 3-4 Rybakina - Gutsy tennis from the 2019 champion Simona Halep to hold serve and stay close in this crucial second set.

Halep 2-4 Rybakina* - Ace with a perfect serve down the T from Rybakina. Served at 119mph by Rybakina and Halep barely gets her racquet on it. Wide serve this time does the damage. Another ace and Rybakina consolidates the break. What a service game!

Halep* 2-3 Rybakina - Seventh double fault of the game for Halep - 15-all. Rybakina's forehand has suddenly lost accuracy. The backhand though is causing trouble for Halep - 30-all. Cross court backhand, slice and overhead winner - Rybakina has a break point chance! Double fault from Halep to hand the break back.

Halep 2-2 Rybakina* - Rybakina makes silly errors on the backhand and forehand. Halep, 30-0 up, has a chance. Another reckless forehand from Rybakina and the Romanian has three break points. Rybakina sends the forehand long. Back on serve.

Halep* 1-2 Rybakina - Important service game for Halep and she starts off on the right note - 30-0 up. An unforced backhand error from the Kazakh player gives Halep two game point chances. She converts the first one itself with a well-executed wide serve.

Halep 0-2 Rybakina* - Brilliant ball striking from Rybakina. Consolidates the break without much fuss.

Halep* 0-1 Rybakina - Halep to serve first in the second set. Pressure is on the 2019 champion. And champions thrive under pressure! Excellent defending from the Romanian in a pretty long rally and eventually, Rybakina's backhand hits the net. Longest rally of the match - 15 shots - and it is Rybakina who ends it with a faulty backhand. Double fault from Halep as she looked to seal the game but it is deuce again. Rybakina earns herself a break point opportunity. Three double faults in the game and Halep has literally gifted the early break.

FIRST SET (* denotes server)

Halep 3-6 Rybakina* - Elena Rybakina serving for the set. Begins with an ace. Follows it up with a cracking forehand winner. Another ace. Three set points. Rybakina's second serve allows Halep to get the return back and she eventually wins the point with a cross court backhand winner. Halep manages to save the second set point but on the third time of asking Rybakina converts as the Romanian's forehand goes wide!

Halep* 3-5 Rybakina - Halep to serve to stay in the set. An uncharacteristic forehand error from Halep at 30-15. Looks like this might cost her as Rybakina has earned herself a set point. Halep gets herself out of jail with three consecutive points as her coach Patrick Mouratoglou looks on.

Halep 2-5 Rybakina* - Rybakina, with very little movement, is going for her shots and it is working. Another brutal forehand to go 30-15 up. Rybakina holds. Cool as you like.

Halep* 2-4 Rybakina - A blistering inside out forehand winner from Rybakina on Halep's second serve - 15-all. Rybakina successfully challenges her cross court forehand winner which was originally called out but the hawk-eye showed that the ball had clipped the side line. Two break points for the Kazakh. Halep saves first with a forehand down the line winner. Unbelievable get from Halep to keep herself in the rally before closing the net down to put the pressure on Rybakina who hits the backhand into the net. A mistimed slice from Rybakina and Halep holds serve. Only just.

Halep 1-4 Rybakina* - Rybakina goes for the risky backhand down the line but misses the side line. Another disastrous drop shot from the Kazakh and it is 30-all. Wide serve from from the 17th seed and Halep's forehand return goes wide. Rybakina's forehand took a deflection off the top of the net and Halep's forehand after that goes long. The Romanian is disgusted with herself for the miss and hits her thigh.

Halep* 1-3 Rybakina - Double fault from Halep - 15-all. Rybakina mistimes the drop shot and Halep rushes in well in time to hit the forehand winner down the line. Trouble for Halep again as Rybakina is 40-30 up after making the 16th-seeded Romanian run from one end to another. However, Halep recovers well to save the break point before Rybakina hits another poor drop shot. Rybakina's backhand goes long. Halep opens her account.

Halep 0-3 Rybakina* - Rybakina's serve proving to be a bit tough to handle for the Romanian. Rybakina goes 40-15 up and then wraps up the game with a wide serve. Halep's forehand return goes into the net.

Halep* 0-2 Rybakina - Halep down 0-30 on her opening service game. No worries as the 2019 champion makes it 30-all quickly with a backhand winner and a strong first serve. Another powerful first serve and Rybakina's return was very heavy. Rybakina gets herself into the rally and makes it 40-all with an overhead winner. Double fault from Halep gifts the Kazakh player a break point. Rybakina breaks . Lovely forehand shots on both sides of the court from her.

Halep 0-1 Rybakina* - Brilliant serve down the T to start things off for Rybakina. Lovely drop shot by the young Kazakh to go 30-0 up. Wide serve and Halep's forehand goes long. Easy service hold for Rybakina.

8:20PM: Warm up is done. Game time!!!

8:15PM: Both players have stepped onto the Centre Court. Rybakina won the toss and chose to serve. Halep leads the head-to-head 2-1.

8:08PM: How Halep and Rybakina have reached the semifinal

8PM: The second semifinal between Romania's Simona Halep and Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina will start in a few minutes.

 

 

THIRD SET (*denotes server)

Jabeur* 6-1 Maria - Forehand volley winner to start one of the most important service games of Ons Jabeur's career. A forehand error from the German. Three match point chances for Jabeur as Maria's backhand goes into the net. First opportunity goes as Jabeur's cross court forehand goes wide. Forehand from Maria hits the net. Ons Jabeur becomes the first Arab and North African woman to reach a Grand Slam final.

 

Jabeur 5-1 Maria* - Maria to serve to stay in the match. Perfect service game so far - 40-0. Weak second serve and Jabeur smacks a forehand winner down the line. No issues for Maria though as she does wrap up the game on the next point.

Jabeur* 5-0 Maria - Two strong first serves from Jabeur and a backhand error from Maria on the third - the Tunisian is 40-0 up. Double fault from Jabeur. Nerves? Another horrendous error from Maria as she sends the passing forehand shot wide.

Jabeur 4-0 Maria* - A very important service game for the German. She gets broken here and it will pretty much end her chances of reaching the final. Jabeur comes up with yet another wonderful backhand cross court winner with Maria at the net. Break point chance for Jabeur. Maria saves it as Jabeur miscues the overhead. The German needs to hold serve here but Jabeur seems to have decided that now is the time to go for the kill. Maria hands the double break advantage to Jabeur by sending the simplest of the forehand volleys long!

Jabeur* 3-0 Maria - A touch forehand volley executed perfectly by Jabeur. Body serve from Jabeur and Maria's return goes flying over the baseline. Jabeur consolidates the break!

Jabeur 2-0 Maria* - Forehand errors from both players in the first two points - 15-all. Fifth double fault of the match for Maria. Big opportunity missed by Jabeur as the forehand down the line was there for the taking but she ended but sending it wide - 30-all. Maria keeps going for the slice and eventually, one lands into the net. A crucial forehand cross court winner for Jabeur gives her the early break.

Jabeur* 1-0 Maria - Jabeur to serve first in the decider. Strong first serve draws a heavy return from Maria. The German tries to stay in the next rally with a lob shot but it just lands past the baseline. Backhand down the line from Maria goes wide and Jabeur gets three game points. A flying cross court backhand winner from Jabeur to hold serve.

SECOND SET (*denotes server)

Jabeur 3-6 Maria* - Maria to serve for the set. Goes 15-0 up as Jabeur's backhand does not cross the net. Another backhand error from Jabeur. Third backhand error from the world number two and Maria has three set points. Phew! Forehand from Jabeur dips just in time to find the line. Maria does convert the second opportunity as Jabeur hits a poor drop shot.

Jabeur* 3-5 Maria - Jabeur to serve to stay in the set. The scoreline might make it look worse but Jabeur is just one break down in this set. Astonishing cross court backhand winner from Jabeur to go 30-0 up after a powerful first serve on the opening point. First double fault of the match for Jabeur. A backhand winner from Maria followed by a forehand error from Jabeur and all of a sudden, Maria has a set point. Jabeur avoids the danger with a well-constructed point finished with a forehand volley. Some jitters but eventually, the Tunisian holds serve with an ace and a backhand cross court winner.

Jabeur 2-5 Maria* - Maria holds on to her advantage with a solid service game. Two great first serves plus a bit of excellent defending.

Jabeur* 2-4 Maria - Strong service game from Jabeur this time - 40-0 up. The inside-out forehand from the Tunisian lands beyond the baseline. Delicate drop shot from Jabeur - barely goes over the net and lands bang on the right side line.

Jabeur 1-4 Maria* - Maria serving to consolidate the break. The German looked to have sealed the game only to see Jabeur come up with two forehand winners, the second of which was simply outstanding as Jabeur hit a cross court forehand winner while running with her back facing Maria - deuce. Double fault on game point from Maria and it is deuce again. Excellent lob mid-rally from the German world no. 103 and this time, Jabeur cannot produce one of her magic shots. Backhand from the Tunisian goes long and after some struggle, Maria does consolidate the break.

 

Jabeur* 1-3 Maria - Wide serve from Jabeur to win the point. Maria goes for the forehand winner and does find the line - 15-all. Jabeur makes mess of an attempted drop shot but quickly corrects the mistake with a big serve down the T. Jabeur overcooks the forehand to give Maria one break point opportunity and she converts it. An excellent volley and Jabeur's return goes into the net.

Jabeur 1-2 Maria* - Maria finds herself in trouble. Jabeur up 30-15 on the German's serve after a delightful backhand slice. Double fault from Maria and Jabeur has two break points. Maria saves both - first with a forehand volley and second courtesy of a forehand error from the Tunisian. Big service hold for Maria.

Jabeur* 1-1 Maria - First service game for Jabeur in the second set. Maria did well to take it to 40-all but Jabeur just looks so calm today. Wraps up the game by winning two consecutive points.

Jabeur 0-1 Maria* - Maria to serve first in the second set. Can she pull off yet another comeback? She has started decently by conceding just one point, that too because of a double fault.

FIRST SET (*denotes server)

Jabeur* 6-2 Maria - Jabeur to serve for the set. Perfect start - ace down the T. Make that two aces down the T. Sliced backhand return from Maria goes long. Another backhand error from the German and Jabeur takes the opening set.

Jabeur 5-2 Maria* - A crushing forehand down the line winner for Maria to start the service game. How did Maria retrieve one of the most audacious half-volleys from Jabeur! Ridiculous stuff. However, the German follows it up with three unforced errors to gift Jabeur a break point opportunity. The Tunisian gladly accepts the offer and converts it with a forehand down the line. Maria's return goes off court.

Jabeur* 4-2 Maria - Jabeur is absolutely nailing each and every overhead today. The forehand from the Tunisian finds the line as she goes 30-0 up. Maria puts lots of revs on the slice which gets the ball to land on the right side line. Jabeur is late in sending the return. Forehand winner from Jabeur gives her one game point. Can she convert it? Yes, she can. A beautiful cross court backhand winner to seal the game.

Jabeur 3-2 Maria* - Brilliant court coverage from Jabeur. She anticipates the volley from Maria and rushes in to retrieve before killing the point with an overhead on the follow up to go 30-15 up. Jabeur's forehand is causing problems for the Tunisian as another one goes bang into the net. For once, the forehand does work! Jabeur finds the corner with her forehand from the net to make it deuce again. Two forehand unforced errors from both players and it is 40-all yet again. Maria serves out wide to convert her fourth game point chance.

Jabeur* 3-1 Maria - Jabeur to serve to consolidate the break. Well, well. Two forehand errors from the Tunisian and all of a sudden, Maria is 30-0 up. Wide serve from Jabeur to draw a heavy return from the German. A sensational running forehand drop shot from Jabeur kisses the top of the net before falling on the opposite side. Bold decision from Maria to let Jabeur's lob go and it does go wide. Jabeur consolidates the break.

Jabeur 2-1 Maria* - Strong first serve from Maria down the T and Jabeur barely gets her racquet on it. At 15-30, Jabeur does manage to return and then sets up the overhead winner with a brilliant lob. Error on the slice from Maria and Jabeur breaks.

Jabeur* 1-1 Maria - One too many slice shots from Maria costs her - Jabeur up 15-0. Two forehand winners for the Tunisian give her three game points. Two forehand errors wipe two of those three game point chances. Jabeur holds as Maria's slice hits the top of the net.

Jabeur 0-1 Maria* - Maria serves first and wins the opening point courtesy of an unforced error on the forehand from Jabeur. And there you go! A drop shot return winner from Jabeur on the second point of the match itself. Maria does well to bring Jabeur forward with the drop shot but mishits the passing forehand - 30-all. Break point for the Tunisian as Maria's slice hits the net. The German world no. 103 wins the battle of the slices at 40-all. However, Jabeur pulls thing back to deuce as Maria, who was at the net, had to reach out to retrieve the Tunisian's forehand but she could not send it over the net. Unbelievable slice shots from both players but it is the world no. 3 who draws the error from her opponent. Maria saves another break point with a perfect wide serve. Two unforced errors on the forehand from Jabeur and Maria holds serve after eight minutes.

6:06PM: Warm-up is done. Game time!!!

6:02PM: TOSS - Tatjana Maria wins the toss and chooses to serve.

6PM: The Centre Court welcomes the two first-time semifinalists with a huge round of applause.

5:45PM: Jabeur vs Maria head-to-head: Jabeur leads 2-1

5:40PM: How Jabeur and Maria have reached the semifinal:-

5:30PM: It's time for the business end of this year's Wimbledon. First up on Centre Court today is the first women's singles semifinal between Tunisian world number two Ons Jabeur and German world number 103 Tatjana Maria which will be followed by the second semifinal between 2019 champion Simona Halep of Romania and Kazakh world number 23 Elena Rybakina.

SEMIFINALS PREVIEW

Ons Jabeur vs Tatjana Maria

When barbecue buddies Ons Jabeur and Tatjana Maria step on to Centre Court for their Wimbledon semi-final on Thursday, the loyalties of an eight-year-old German girl who will be sitting in the players' box will be severely tested.

Mum-of-two Maria's run to the last four has been the feel-good story of these championships, with the 103rd-ranked German finally making the grade at the 49th attempt.

But considering she will be facing an opponent her eldest daughter Charlotte calls "Aunt Ons", there will be a friendly celebration at the end no matter who emerges victorious and earns the right to face either 2019 champion Simona Halep or Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina in Saturday's final.

 

"I was joking with Charlotte, I was telling her 'Are you going to support me or your mom?' I'm trying to turn all the kids to my side," joked Tunisia's Jabeur, the first Arab to reach a Grand Slam singles semi-final.

World number two Jabeur will be the overwhelming favourite to win the showdown against her friend whose best showing at a major was a solitary third-round run at the All England Club in 2015. Of her previous 48 attempts, she did not even progress past qualifying 14 times.

But the one thing going in the 34-year-old's favour is that she knows she has the weapons to topple Jabeur, having beaten the third seed in their only meeting on the main tour.

"I always believed that I have something inside... that I can do this. But to be now here in this spot...," said Maria, who has had to juggle nappy changing duties with her on-court commitments.

"I mean one year ago I gave birth to my second daughter. If somebody would tell me one year later you are in a semi-final of Wimbledon, that's crazy.

"(I want to) show everybody that I'm still here and I'm a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming. That's what I want to show my kids."

Jabeur is also determined to inspire the next generation with her ground-breaking run as she targets becoming the first Arab and first woman from Africa to win a major.

She was spurred on by former Moroccan player Hicham Arazi to finally break through the quarter-final barrier at the slams.

"Hicham.... told me Arabs always lose in the quarter-finals and we are sick of it. Please break this," Jabeur said with a laugh.

After her win over Czech Marie Bouzkova, she received a follow-up text from Arazi.

"He was like 'thank you for finally making the semi-final. Now you can really go and get the title."

Simona Halep vs Elena Rybakina

The only one in the last-four mix who knows what it is like to hold aloft the oversized Venus Rosewater Dish is Halep.

The Romanian was not even considered a title contender this time round as she has slipped down the rankings to 18th after a torn calf muscle wrecked her 2021 season and even prevented her from showing up at Wimbledon 12 months ago.

That no-show meant she also missed out on opening the second day's play on Centre Court, an honour usually reserved for the defending women's champion.

Hence she knows that the only way she can earn that privilege again is "by winning again".

As the only contender who has yet to drop a set at these championships, the twice Grand Slam champion is now looking like the woman to beat and Rybakina will have her work cut out if she is to defeat Halep for the first time in a completed match.

In three previous meetings, the world number 23's only success was when Halep retired injured.

"I feel ready to go. I feel good physically. Mentally as well. Yeah, I feel ready for tomorrow," Halep said.

Big-hitter Rybakina, who would have been excluded from this year's Wimbledon had she not switched allegiance from Russia four years ago, has so far fired down a tournament-leading 44 aces and will be hoping that she has enough firepower to wear down Halep.

"I just know that I have to play till the end because she's great fighter," said Rybakina, who will be bidding to become the first Kazakhstan player to reach a major final.

- Reuters