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By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) – It took Karolina Pliskova almost a decade of trying before she finally reached the Wimbledon semi-finals with a rapid-fire 6-2 6-2 win over little-known Swiss Viktorija Golubic on Tuesday.

Neither player had even made it to the last eight of the grasscourt major before this week but it was Czech Pliskova, a former world number one, who made her greater big-stage experience count on a floodlit Court One.

“Super happy to be through. It’s my first semi-final. First time on this court this year. I had to work really hard to get to this court,” said the 29-year-old, who can now look forward to a Centre Court date with either Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur or Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka.

“I am going to enjoy this moment, because it has never happened for me.”

It was a very noisy affair on Court One, but not because the players were creating a racket.

The torrential downpour that kept hitting the translucent roof often drowned out the sound of the shots being exchanged by the players and after Golubic saved a break point to draw level at 2-2 in the first set her game unravelled spectacularly.

Eighth seed Pliskova romped through the next seven games, dropping only four points on serve en route to taking the first set, as she steamed ahead 6-2 3-0.

Golubic owns a glorious one-handed backhand but there were only fleeting sightings of her trademark shot as Pliskova’s greater firepower proved decisive.

In their only previous meeting 66th-ranked Golubic had staged a spectacular comeback to beat the Czech after being a set and 4-2 down.

If Harry Potter fan Golubic harboured hopes of conjuring another great escape on Tuesday so that she could become the first Swiss to reach the women’s semi-finals since Martina Hingis in 1998, Pliskova swiftly snuffed out those plans.

Standing 6-foot-1, Pliskova kept firing down 116 mph missiles that whistled past Golubic’s racket.

That serve got her out of trouble when she faced three break points at 4-2 up in the second set and, although she squandered her first three match points in the next game, a forehand into the tramlines from Golubic handed victory to the Czech.

“I feel like I am improving with every match and have improved my footwork. I am feeling super fit,” said Pliskova, who has reached the last four without dropping a set.

“I feel my game is quite good the last two weeks in practice and matches. We had some good preparation and hopefully we can continue.”

(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ken Ferris)