She will get a second chance at the title on Saturday against either five-time champion Venus Williams or Johanna Konta.
Konta was playing in the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time.
The 14th seed – who lost the 2015 final to Serena Williams – continued the onslaught in the second set as Rybarikova’s throwback grasscourt game of slices, drop shots and lobs was unable to compete with the Spaniard’s firepower.
“It is more nerve-wracking watching her because when I am playing it is all in my hands”, said Serena, the younger of the sisters.
I guess she’s kind of like a boxer: “People think it’s time for her to quit because she’s too old”, Oracene Price said after leaving Centre Court, where the roof was shut because of rain Tuesday.
Muguruza is looking to reach her second Wimbledon final, having been beaten by Serena Williams in 2015, while Rybarikova, the world number 87, is the lowest-ranked player for nearly a decade to reach the women’s last four.
In the other semi-final, former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza faces Slovakian world number 87 Magdalena Rybarikova.
Konta was thrilled when U2 messaged to say they wished they could be watching HER this week.
Williams, who is 37 years old, made her Wimbledon debut a few months before Ostapenko was born. The American’s serve game will be key, having thrown down eight aces against the Latvian – the most she has won thus far in the tournament. On Court No. 1, Rybarikova was taking on Vandeweghe. The Briton used to have a reputation for losing matches from winning positions, but a Spanish mind coach, Juan Coto, helped to transform her mental approach.
In 2017, the pair have split their meetings, with Konta recording a 6-4, 7-5 victory on hard court in the semi-final of the Miami Masters, while Williams clawed their annual head-to-head record back to 1-1 with a 6-1 3-6 6-1 win on clay at the Rome Masters.
At an age when all of her contemporaries have long since retired, Venus is still going strong and, in her 20th Wimbledon, she is on the verge of an historic achievement the equal of Konta s potential milestone.
“It’s been something that I’ve been dragging back and forth for a while now”, Djokovic said.
Rybarikova entered Thursday’s match with an 18-1 record on grass this season, including a run to the semifinals in Nottingham.
Muguruza won 6-1 6-1 in just 64 minutes in staright sets on Centre Court to advance to her second Wimbledon final.
“I definitely want to win”, Muguruza said, “no matter who is front of me”. She was also victorious when the pair met on grass in Birmingham two years ago.