Donna Vekic reaches first Grand Slam semifinal in comeback win over Lulu Sun at Wimbledon

Donna Vekic reaches first Grand Slam semifinal in comeback win over Lulu Sun at Wimbledon
Donna Vekic reaches first Grand Slam semifinal in comeback win over Lulu Sun at Wimbledon

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: World number two Coco Gauff was sent crashing out of Wimbledon by American compatriot Emma Navarro on Sunday as Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner were firmly locked on an All England Club semifinal collision course.

Gauff’s 6-4, 6-3 fourth round defeat means that only two of the top 10 women’s seeds are left in the tournament.

Elsewhere, unheralded Lulu Sun became the first New Zealand woman to reach the last-eight at Wimbledon, while Madison Keys quit her last-16 clash in floods of tears.

Navarro, ranked 19th, reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time with her defeat of US Open champion Gauff.

Gauff, who made the semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open this year, has still to get past the last 16 at Wimbledon, the tournament, where she made her breakthrough as a 15-year-old in 2019.

Her shock defeat followed the unexpected exit of world number one Iga Swiatek in the third round on Saturday.

“I think I played really aggressively. Coco’s an amazing player and I have a ton of respect for her,” said Navarro.

Only fourth-ranked 2022 champion Elena Rybakina and Jasmine Paolini, the world number seven, remain from the top 10 women.

Paolini will be Navarro’s quarter-final opponent.

World number three Alcaraz defeated French 16th seed Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 to make the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the ninth time in just 14 appearances.

However, it was another uncomfortable afternoon for the Spaniard, who had needed five sets to see off Frances Tiafoe in the third round.

His erratic performance on Sunday saw him drop serve five times and commit an uncharacteristic 33 unforced errors.

The 21-year-old, bidding to become just the sixth man to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back, eased through the first set under the Center Court roof before crucially saving four break points in the fifth game of the second.

Humbert stormed back, breaking the champion three times in the third set as Alcaraz went spectacularly off the boil.

But Humbert handed over a service break in the 11th game of the fourth set and Alcaraz took full advantage to quickly seal the tie.

“I will be there, fighting until the last ball,” said Alcaraz, who is chasing a fourth Grand Slam title.

Alcaraz will take on American 12th seed Tommy Paul, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.

Over on Court One, top seed Sinner moved into the last-eight with a 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (11/9) win over American 14th seed Ben Shelton.

Sinner, who won his maiden Slam crown at the Australian Open this year, will face Russian fifth seed Daniil Medvedev for a place in the semifinals in a rematch of their final in Melbourne.

“It was a tough match, especially the third set. I had to keep saving set points,” said Sinner, a semifinalist in 2023.

Medvedev, also a semifinalist last year, progressed when 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov retired in the first set of their last-16 tie with a knee injury.

Sun made history for New Zealand with a three-set victory over Emma Raducanu, shattering home hopes of ending a 47-year wait for a British women’s champion.

The 23-year-old qualifier, ranked at 123, triumphed 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 over the 2021 US Open winner.

Sun hit 52 winners against Raducanu, who took a medical time-out in the third set to treat problems with her ankle and back.

“It was a great match against Emma. I really dug deep to get the win,” said Sun.

Sun will next face Croatia’s Donna Vekic, the world number 37, who clinched a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 win over Spain’s Paula Badosa on the back of 33 winners.

American 12th seed Keys was just one game away from a third quarter-final at the All England Club before she was forced to quit against Paolini.

After dropping the first set, Keys hit back to level the match at 3-6, 7-6 (8/6).

The 2017 US Open runner-up then raced into a 5-2 lead in the decider when she suffered a left leg injury in the eighth game.

At 5-4, she took a medical time-out, returned with her left leg bandaged but with her movement severely restricted, she wept openly on court before quitting at 5-5.

“I’m very sorry for her, it’s sad,” said French Open runner-up Paolini, who had never won a grass-court match until two weeks ago.

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