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Wimbledon semifinals live updates: Rybakina takes on Krejcikova, Paolini wins epic tiebreak to make final

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Wimbledon semifinals live updates: Rybakina takes on Krejcikova, Paolini wins epic tiebreak to make final

There’s still one Wimbledon semifinal match to be played, but we know one of the women who will be playing for the title on Saturday.

Jasmine Paolini of Italy, the No. 7 seed, defeated unseeded Croatian Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(8) in the semifinal on Tuesday. Despite not winning her first grass match until last year, she’s the first Italian woman to make the Wimbledon final in the Open Era.

The match started almost as a slog, with Vekic and Paolini spending several minutes mired in the very first game. Paolini eventually won, but the action didn’t really pick up until they were tied 2-2. Vekic won that game in record time, and then never looked back. She won the next four to take 1-0 match lead.

Vekic was scoring on Paolini almost at will in the first set, but Paolini finally found her dynamic first serve in the second set. Vekic stood her ground, but Paolini had a stronger hold, and Vekic started making errors at the worst possible time. With a roar, the 5-foot-4 Italian took the second set and evened the match at 1-1.

Paolini, who lost to Iga Swiatek in the French Open final just last month, came out flat in the third set. She had to dig deep to keep up, and it was really a war of attrition for them both. Paolini struggled with errors, and Vekic struggled with what appeared to be an injured right forearm on her racket side.

The injury coincided with a decline in Vekic’s serve, and Paolini was finally able to get an edge. She took her first lead of the third set at 5-4, but it didn’t last. Vekic kept on fighting, eventually tying the set at 6-6 and forcing a tiebreak for the whole match.

Even the tiebreak was close. Paolini finally pulled out the win after two hours and 51 minutes, the longest women’s semifinal match in the history of Wimbledon. She’s just the fifth woman in the Open Era to make the French Open and Wimbledon finals in the same year.

Paolini will face the winner of the other semifinal match, which will be played shortly after noon ET. No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina will take on No. 31 Barbora Krejcikova.

7. Jasmine Paolini def. Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8)
31. Barbora Krejcikova vs. 4. Elena Rybakina

Live24 updates

  • Paolini is absolutely irresistible. She’s been on the tour for a decade and is finally breaking through. She’s made more prize money today than in her entire career so far. She knows she’s doing something incredible, and she’s trying to enjoy every single second.

  • Jasmine Paolini into second Grand Slam final

    IT’S JASMINE PAOLINI IN THE WIMBLEDON FINALS!

    After a punishing match that lasted nearly three hours, Paolini becomes the first Italian woman to make the Wimbledon final in the Open Era. She defeats Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(8).

  • VEKIC HAS TIED IT!

    We’re onto a tiebreak! First to 10 wins. There is no favorite. Let’s go!

  • Vekic. Is. Still. Fighting. Facing match point, she uncorked a glorious line-hugger that skipped right past Paolini. Now she’s got the advantage and is one point away from forcing a tiebreak.

  • Paolini goes up 6-5 after an intense game that lasted 10-plus minutes. Paolini was up 30-0 but Vekic managed to climb all the way back and tie at 40-40. Five deuces later, Paolini emerged victorious after a well-timed challenge that overturned a call that would have brought them to deuce no. 6.

  • Paolini was facing match point, but Vekic is still fighting. She managed to stave off elimination to tie the match 5-5, but appears to be in some pain.

  • It looks like Vekic is having an issue with her right forearm, which is her racket side. She needed to ice it during the last changeover, and is constantly stretching out her wrist and fingers between points. That might explain why her first serves have taken a sharp decline in quality over the last few games.

  • Paolini has tied the third set 3-3 against Vekic! At this point, either player could take it. They both have enough tools to win, but the big question is whether they have the stamina to keep up this level of play all the way through to the end.

  • Vekic’s attempts to take a solid lead over Paolini continue be thwarted, though Vekic is still up a break and is currently on serve. Paolini will need to break Vekic soon if she wants to have a chance.

  • After building up so much momentum in the second set, Paolini has come out flat in the third. Vekic has already gotten out to a 2-0 lead, and is threatening to turn it into a 3-0 lead unless Paolini finds a little of that second set spirit.

  • You haven’t seen movement on the court until you’ve seen Jasmine Paolini. She is lightning quick, constantly stunning Vekic and the broadcast booth with her returning ability.

  • Paolini takes it! After a disastrous first set, Paolini has found her serve and evened the match 1-1.

    It all comes down to the final set. Will Vekic make her very first Grand Slam final? Or will Paolini head to her second straight Grand Slam final?

  • Paolini has thrown everything imaginable at Vekic, but she cannot stop to the unseeded Croatian. Paolini took a 3-2 lead, then Vekic tied it. Paolini then staked a 4-3 lead, which Vekic also caught up to.

    Vekic is also putting everything out there to beat Paolini. She’s been stopped cold by some of the returns Paolini has made this set, and had a few unforced errors at the worst time possible, but she’s never been to a Grand Slam semifinal before, and she’s not ready for her run to end.

    Paolini again has a one-game lead, this time 5-4. Will she be able to win the set and force a decider?

  • This time Paolini takes a 3-2 lead! Now she has to maintain it, something Vekic has made extremely hard to do.

  • Tied 2-2, this is a crucial game. This is the point in the first set when Vekic broke Paolini to take a 3-2 lead, then powered ahead to win the set with relative ease. Could this be the turning point in the second set, too?

  • Just as Paolini was starting to look a bit overmatched, she pulls out a huge hold to take a 2-1 lead over Vekic.

  • The crowd is behind Paolini now, almost certainly they want to see her make a comeback and give them a full three-set match. Can’t blame the fans for wanting to get their money’s worth!

  • Despite some early strength from Paolini, Vekic took the first set easily 6-2. Maybe this match won’t be as long as we thought…

  • The commentators, Mary Jo Fernandez especially, have mentioned numerous times that Vekic has been working with former US tennis star Pam Shriver. Paolini, who is not working with a longtime famous tennis player and personal friend of Fernandez’s, isn’t getting nearly enough love from the booth and Fernandez specifically, who has been unrelentingly supportive of Vekic over the first set.

  • Vekic gets the first break of the match! She’s up 3-2 on Paolini in the first set.

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