Having been a surprise package at Roland Garros, Helena Ostapenko has been very much on the radar in London and she further advanced her claim for a second grand slam title with an impressive 6-3 7-6 (8-6) success on Monday.
Elina Svitolina, making her maiden appearance in the second week of the grass-court slam, had not dropped a set in her first three matches, but struggled to live with Ostapenko’s bold approach as the narrow underdog took her eighth match point after initially letting a 5-2 second-set lead slip.
The Latvian was characteristically aggressive from the outset and had two break points in the opening game, seizing the second with a dipping forehand to confound her wrong-footed opponent.
Ostapenko’s unrelenting desire to attack put Svitolina under huge pressure and she soon wilted, the world number five again dropping serve to trail 4-1.
Svitolina saw three consecutive break points escape her grasp in game six, but produced a precise backhand that dropped just inside the left-hand sideline after an Ostapenko double fault gave her one more opening.
The Ukrainian had the opportunity to move level when she next returned, but miscued a forehand with the open court at her mercy and saw two other break-point chances pass her by.
She was made to rue that profligacy when another Ostapenko barrage saw the 20-year-old wrap up the opening set, sealed when Svitolina sent a forehand long at the end of an eye-catching rally.
The second set started with a quick exchange of breaks as both players were punished for low first-serve percentages, while Ostapenko was taken to a seventh deuce in a mammoth fifth game before finally holding serve.
Svitolina was again swiftly made to regret failing to take her chances when Ostapenko broke and then held to leave the fourth seed serving to stay in the match.
Ostapenko had match point against the serve and another four on serve before being broken, which happened again to put Svitolina 6-5 up.
A see-saw set tipped the other way when Ostapenko broke to force a tie-break, where the pumped-up youngster came from 3-1 down to bring an enthralling contest to a close.