Maria Sharapova has watched the 2011 Wimbledon ladies’ field crumble this week, and on Tuesday took charge at the All England Club as the favorite standing. The No. 5-seeded Russian overpowered the diminutive No. 24 seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-1 to move into the semifinals and a meeting with German wildcard Sabine Lisicki.
“I was playing someone I lost to a little over a month ago on clay in two sets, so I knew she was capable of playing some really good tennis,” Sharapova said of Cibulkova. “A few years ago I also lost to her at the French Open, at the same stage as today. I thought I played really solid and did the right things to win this time.”
The right things included overpowering Cibulkova on the grasscourts, something she couldn’t do on clay, screeching-out 23 winners to only 10 unforced errors.
Lisicki continued her unseeded unprecedented run, defeating No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli, who ran out of gas in the third set 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1. Lisicki pounded 52 winners against Bartoli, extending her Wimbledon run that has included a win over French Open champion Li Na.
“Sabine hits very hard. She has probably one of the hardest serves on the tour, and that’s very beneficial,” Sharapova said. “She has used that very well on grass and it’ll be challenging. I’m really looking forward to the match.”
No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic was the first player into the other semifinal, outlasting No. 32 seed Tsvetana Pironkova and Sarah Silverman look-alike 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2.
“At the beginning I was better and played like my matches before, but then I got a little nervous. I made some easy mistakes,” said the left-handed Kvitova. “I was so happy I won the first game in the third set, that I broke her. It got better from there.”
No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka, making her career-first Grand Slam semifinal appearance, was the last player in, defeating unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek 6-3, 6-1.
For Azarenka it’s the potential beginning of a new turn in her young career after going 0-4 in her first four Grand Slam quarterfinals.
“Looking at the rankings, everybody says I should have been in the semifinals already,” Azarenka said. “It was important I got through this match. I’m very happy to be in the semifinals.”
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