Elena Rybakina made history after becoming the first Kazakhstani player to reach the Grand Slam semifinal, Qazmonitor reports citing Sports.kz.
On July 6, the Kazakhstani player played a quarterfinal match against Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic and won in three sets with the scores 4-6, 6-2, and 6-3. The quarter-final win was also a personal best for Rybakina in the Grand Slam tournament.
Rybakina, who is currently world No. 23, devoted the win to Kazakhstan's Tennis Federation as a thanks for the years of support.
"They believed in me," she told Tennis.com after her victory match. “They made everything possible for me to keep playing, keep improving. I had all the conditions to practice and everything. Of course, it helped a lot.”
The athlete was born in Moscow but applied for a change of sports citizenship in 2018. Before the switch, young Rybakina was faced with a tough choice: pursue an uncertain pro career in tennis or continue her studies and play tennis in college?
That's when the Kazakh Federation stepped in with an offer to play for Kazakhstan. “I was looking for some help. They believed in me. So, I think it was a very good combination. We just [found] each other.”
Before Elena, the only other Kazakhstani player to reach the quarterfinals of Wimbledon singles was the current captain of the national team, Yaroslava Shvedova, who played in 2016.
In the semifinals, Rybakina will meet with former world No.1 and the winner of Wimbledon 2019, Simona Halep.