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Tennis: Longest semifinal: Paolini reaches Wimbledon final

Tennis: Longest semifinal: Paolini reaches Wimbledon final
Tennis: Longest semifinal: Paolini reaches Wimbledon final

In the Wimbledon semifinals, the Italian Jasmine Paolini was behind several times, but fought her way into the final. It is her second chance at her first Grand Slam title.

In the longest women’s semifinal in tournament history, Jasmine Paolini became the first Italian tennis player to reach the Wimbledon final. In a hard-fought and exciting duel right up to the end, the 28-year-old narrowly defeated Croatian Donna Vekic 2:6, 6:4, 7:6 (10:8) despite losing the first set at the grass tournament in southwest London.

The Italian defied her deficit in the third set and kept her nerve in the tiebreak. After 2 hours and 51 minutes, she converted her third match point. Paolini is the first tennis player since US star Serena Williams to advance to the Wimbledon final after the French Open final. Williams reached the Wimbledon final in 2016 shortly after the final in Paris.

“I will always remember this match. The last few months have been crazy for me,” said Paolini, who had previously been the first Italian to reach a Wimbledon semi-final. “It’s a dream.” On Saturday, she can crown her rise with her first Grand Slam title against Kazakh world number four Jelena Rybakina or Czech Barbora Krejcikova.

Vekic initially better

On a sunny afternoon after rainy days at Wimbledon, Vekic initially dominated with her powerful game. In front of around 15,000 spectators on Centre Court, she won the first set in her first Grand Slam semi-final with two breaks to make it 3-2 and 5-2.

Vekic, who was considering taking a break from tennis just before the French Open, was unable to capitalize on the advantage of winning the first set or her lead in the third set. The 1.63 meter tall Italian fought back again and again and had a match point at 5:4 and 6:5. But it was only in the tiebreak that she was finally able to assert herself.

Paolini with strong season

Paolini’s steep path to the top of the world is impressive. Before the 2024 season, the Italian had never made it past the second round of a Grand Slam tournament. Now, just over a month after losing the final in Paris to Poland’s Iga Swiatek, she has her second chance at a Grand Slam title. In Wimbledon, she had not won a main draw match in three previous attempts.

Source: Stern

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