Zhang Shuai and Elise Mertens race into Wimbledon doubles semifinals

China’s Zhang Shuai (L) and Elise Mertens of Belgium during their fourth-round women’s doubles match at Wimbledon, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England, July 6, 2022. /CFP

China’s Zhang Shuai (L) and Elise Mertens of Belgium during their fourth-round women’s doubles match at Wimbledon, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England, July 6, 2022. /CFP

Chinese tennis veteran Zhang Shuai continued her quest for a first women’s doubles title at Wimbledon, edging out a Slovenian-Chilean duo to reach the semifinals with Belgian partner Elise Mertens on Wednesday.

Urged on by a passionate crowd at the All England Club, Zhang and Mertens never looked at risk of conceding to pressure, despite a spirited effort from Andreja Klepac and Alexa Guarachi.

The top-seeded pair remained composed throughout and put on a display of epic efficiency, winning the encounter 6-3, 6-2 with relative ease.

Zhang Shuai (L) talks with Elise Mertens during their fourth-round women’s doubles match, July 6, 2022. /CFP

Zhang Shuai (L) talks with Elise Mertens during their fourth-round women’s doubles match, July 6, 2022. /CFP

This is the fourth time in her career that Zhang has reached the women’s doubles semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament. The 33-year-old achieved the feat at the 2018 US Open, the 2019 Australian Open and the US Open last year.

It was also Mertens’ 10th consecutive doubles wins at Wimbledon. She has managed to reach the Wimbledon women’s doubles semis for the second year in a row.

Zhang and Mertens will next face American pair Danielle Collins and Desirae Krawczyk, who battled past 11th seed Erin Routliffe of New Zealand and Alicja Rosolska of Poland 6-1, 6-7, 6-3.

In the other semifinal, Ukrainian Lyudmyla Kichenok and Latvian Jelena Ostapenko will take on No.2 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

Rafael Nadal wins the men’s singles quarterfinals match at Wimbledon, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, July 6, 2022. /CFP

Rafael Nadal wins the men’s singles quarterfinals match at Wimbledon, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, July 6, 2022. /CFP

Later in the day, Rafael Nadal overcame an injury scare to reach an eighth Wimbledon semifinal. The 22-time Grand Slam champion, who had a medical timeout at the end of the second set, came from behind to beat American Taylor Fritz 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10 /4).

“For a lot of moments I was thinking I would not be able to finish the match but the crowd, the energy, thanks for that,” beamed the Spanish star, who struggled with his movement for long periods. “I honestly enjoy a lot playing these kind of matches in front of you guys. I can’t thank you enough for the support.”

“It’s been a tough afternoon against a great player,” added Nadal. “Credit to Taylor that he has been doing great all season.” The 2008 and 2010 champion revealed that he was going to have some more tests. “I am used to pain. It’s nothing new,” he said. “But without doubt today was the worst day.”

Nick Kyrgios wins his first Grand Slam semifinal at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, July 6, 2022. /CFP

Nick Kyrgios wins his first Grand Slam semifinal at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, July 6, 2022. /CFP

Next up for Nadal is a date with Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios, who stormed into his first Grand Slam semifinal by rallying past Cristian Garin of Chile 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5). Kyrgios is the first Australian male player to make the semifinals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

“It would be pretty special to play Rafa here,” said Kyrgios when asked about his semifinal foe. “I feel like that would be a mouth-watering kind of encounter for everyone around the world. That would probably be the most-watched match of all time. I would argue that.”

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