Rybakina storms into Open semi-finals

Elena Rybakina could scarcely look or feel more comfortable after taking another giant stride towards a second grand slam crown in eight heady months.

The Wimbledon champion was the first player to power into the Australian Open semi-finals following a rain-interrupted but otherwise commanding straight-sets victory over 17th seed Jelena Ostapenko.

There was no let-down from Rybakina's stunning fourth-round upset win over world No.1 Iga Swiatek as the Russian-born Kazakh routed Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 on Tuesday.

Rybakina's reward is a shot at two-time Open champion Victoria Azarenka on Thursday for a berth in the final after the Belarusian stunned world No.3 Jessica Pegula 6-4 6-1.

Play was stopped for about half an hour as officials scrambled to mop up the saturated court after a flash storm hit Melbourne, and then had to close the roof at Rod Laver Arena.

But the delay did little to slow Rybakina, who returned to convert a 3-1 first-set advantage into a fourth straight-sets victory from five matches this campaign.

"The conditions were different, but then we expected that it can happen in Australia. You never know," Rybakina said.

"In the morning, one weather, then in a few hours it changes so you have to be ready always. There is the beauty of this sport. Everybody needs to adapt and I think I did really well from the beginning of the match."

The world No.25 broke the 17th-seeded Ostapenko twice in each set and finished with 24 winners to the Latvian's 19 in a dominant display.

She sealed victory with her 11th ace after 79 minutes to take her Open tally to a women's tournament-leading 35.

"I am super happy to be in the semi-final. It was an amazing atmosphere. Thank you very much, everybody," Rybakina told the crowd.

"Of course, I was nervous, especially in the last game, to be honest. Not as nervous as before the match. I am super happy that I managed with emotions and I played very well today."

Somewhat unusually for a 23-year-old at the pointy end of a grand slam for only the second time, there's no hint of anxiety emanating from Rybakina.

She said winning tennis's greatest prize one golden Saturday afternoon last July certainly helps relieve the pressure.

"Of course I got all the experience at Wimbledon, and it's helping me now this time here in Australia and I know what to expect," Rybakina said.

"For sure it's just easier in this case after Wimbledon. I'm feeling good on the court and just really enjoying every match I'm playing here."

Rybakina wasn't always so relaxed.

"I had a tough period before Wimbledon in the sense I was very tired mentally," she said.

"I played a lot of tournaments so I was not at my best and I took a break. So it was kind of not really an expected win at Wimbledon.

"But here it's different because, first of all, I already did it once, and of course I got confident that I can do it again.

"I did really good preparation with the team. I'm not really surprised with the results. I'm happy. I'm just hungry to work and improve more."