It’s women’s semi-finals day at Wimbledon on Thursday as three of the semi-finalists bid to reach their first-ever Grand Slam final.
The only one with experience of a final is Simona Halep who has played five of them at Grand Slam level, winning two – including Wimbledon in 2019.
For the other three players – Ons Jabeur, Tatjana Maria and Elena Rybakina – this is unchartered territory as they get to grips with quiet locker rooms, raucous atmospheres and plenty of butterflies.
Perhaps the toughest challenge – given Halep’s experience – faces Kazakhstan’s Rybakina, who takes on the revitalised Romanian second on Centre Court.
Rybakina said: “It is a big challenge for me. We’ve already played a few times – it was a tough battle.
“Hopefully it will be a good match. I will try to do my best.”
Jabeur against Maria – the match that starts the day’s play on Centre – pits together two good friends off the court, both being mothers and sharing a mutual appreciation of each other’s respective career paths.
“She is part of my family. She loves my kids, she is playing with them every day,” Maria revealed about her Tunisian opponent, as both vie for a spot in Saturday’s final.