'Life can turn fast' - Vekic into Wimbledon semi-finals

Wimbledon semi-finalist Donna Vekic says she "did not want to play tennis" little over a month ago - but now she is celebrating the best Grand Slam run of her career.

Croatia's Vekic, 28, moved into the last four by ending New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun's dream run with a 5-7 6-4 6-1 win.

Vekic's powerful brand of tennis has teed up a meeting with Italian seventh seed Jasmine Paolini, who won 6-2 6-1 against American 19th seed Emma Navarro, for a place in the Wimbledon final.

Vekic has struggled with injuries and, speaking after her quarter-final win on Tuesday, revealed she threatened to stop playing before May's French Open.

"I didn't have any energy, any motivation to keep practising and keep pushing," said Vekic, who is ranked 37th in the world.

"I felt like the last couple months I'd given everything for tennis and I wasn't getting the results that I kind of expected.

"It was a very, very tough moment."

Under the Court One roof, Vekic fought back against Sun to continue her incredible turnaround and form on the grass courts.

After she was convinced by her team to play at Roland Garros, Vekic moved into the third round before relinquishing a lead and losing agonisingly to Serb qualifier Olga Danilovic.

Vekic, who almost retired because of a knee injury three years ago, reached the Bad Homburg final before heading to Wimbledon.

"It's crazy how in tennis things can turn so fast," she said.

"I think not just in tennis, in life things can turn pretty fast.

"That loss in Paris was so, so painful. But it motivated me again to keep working, to keep pushing."

Donna Vekic
Vekic was in tears during her on-court interview on Tuesday [Getty Images]

Facing Sun, who beat Emma Raducanu in the previous round, Vekic failed to convert four break points and then dropped serve at 5-5 as the opener tilted in her opponent's favour.

Vekic broke to go up 5-3 in the second set but briefly lost her confidence, double-faulting three times to hand Sun a break back.

Buoyed by the crowd, Vekic quickly recovered and levelled the match with a sublime drop shot.

She rode her momentum from there, dominating the decider.

Vekic, who has 22-time Grand Slam doubles winner Pam Shriver in her coaching team, is the last unseeded player left in the women's draw.

As Vekic advances, Sun's defeat means Wimbledon's wait for a qualifier to become champion in the Open era continues.

Raducanu is the only qualifier to have won a Grand Slam title in the Open era, doing so when she triumphed at the 2021 US Open.

Paolini's perfect performance

The increasingly impressive Paolini needed just 58 minutes to storm into her first Wimbledon semi-final with a blistering win over American 19th seed Navarro.

French Open finalist Paolini is the second highest ranked player left in the draw, behind only fourth seed Elena Rybakina.

The 28-year-old dropped serve early in the opener and trailed 2-1 but won the next five games to wrap up the first set in 27 minutes.

She extended that control into the second set, breaking twice more as Navarro failed to find the tennis that carried her to victory against Coco Gauff on Sunday.

Just 10 days ago, Paolini had never won a main-draw match at Wimbledon, losing in the first round on each of her three appearances. On this form, she could be champion on Saturday.

As for Navarro, the 23-year-old’s run to the quarter-finals has been her best performance at a Grand Slam.

Once the wounds of this loss heal, that will serve as encouragement for the New York-born player ahead of the Olympics and US Open later in the year.