Sharapova Suddenly the Wimbledon Favorite After Quarters

by Staff | June 28th, 2011, 10:23 pm

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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20 Comments for Sharapova Suddenly the Wimbledon Favorite After Quarters

Kimberly Says:

The good news is this is sharapova’s second consecutive grand slam semen final. Can she take the next step? Lisicki is dangerous. Hard to believe lisicki was removed in a stretcher a month ago at RG. Maria has not faired well against a lot of big hitters, azarenka, Williams etc. I’m not sure she will come through this match even ifnsheis the favorite. If she did I would prefer her to meet kvitoova as azarenka looks more dangerous, and at the final in Miami I watched live azarenka totally outplayed, outclassed her. BUT hasn’t Maria come a long way since then?

funches Says:

This guy has a much different take than Tennis-X. Instead of Sharapova being the favorite, she is the least likely winner among the final four.

Kimmi Says:

I have my fingers crossed for kvitova. could she do it? her match was very nervy today. Azarenka will be tough. didnt see her play but kvitova beat her before, in clay madrid..hoping for the best. rooting for a silence final.

go lisicki

go petra

Kimberly Says:

Haha kimmi we never root for the same people! I am hoping for the screamfest! Azarenka would be my second choice but I think she’s a tougher opponent for Maria. Although I think we were both rooting for lisicki today against bartoli!

joe Says:

I think that guys has a much different opinion because he writes for the free crappy blog The Examiner.

funches Says:

Tennis-X is free, too, and a blog. The difference is people who write for Examiner get paid in pennies. People who write here get paid nothing.

The next time anyone wants to criticize the stuff on here, remember the writers are doing it in their own free time with no compensation.

Kimberly Says:

More important than tennis-x or the examiner? VEGAS is calling sharapova the favorite, and there is lots of money involved there!

I’m not sure I agree. Maria could lose any match or win any match against the others. They are also favoring kvitova over azarenka and have kvitova as the second favorite to wn.

Humble Rafa Says:

I have a feeling this is Kvitova’s chance to win. She is the best one left.

funches Says:

Vegas odds have nothing to do with who the oddsmakers think is the best player or who they think will win. Common mistake.

Vegas odds are designed to reflect what the betting public thinks. Because Sharapova had much better name recognition than any of the other quarterfinalists, of course she was going to be the betting favorite. Almost 99 percent of casual fans would pick Sharapova to win when they looked at the other names in the draw.

Kimberly Says:

I have heard that Vegas usually has it right as the betting public one would hope would do a little research before actually putting money on the line?

Didnt help the Miami heat though!

joe Says:

it will be interesting. if maria can beat the chokey double faults in clutch time she will win it

grendel Says:

“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 wonder if the key to a Kvitova win might be a tight first set? When she’s in demolition mode against a generally determined opponent, at some stage in the match the sheer outlandishness of what she’s doing seems to get to her and she starts becoming tentative. But cat and mouse stuff is just not her forte – there’s lots better than her at that. She was crapping all over Azarenka in their last match, reality came and tapped on her shoulder – and she damn nearly gave the game away. In fact she only got away with it because hard faced Azarenka became just as nervous – or perhaps she was just punch drunk. Being on the receiving end of 60 minute woman at her free flowing best must be a disturbing experience.

So if it’s competitive from the outset, maybe Kvitova will be kind of steadier and less subject to nerves. Just a thought.

Cherry Says:

I am excited to see the match between Sharapova and Lisicki. Both are very good players.

Kimberly Says:

Azarenka and Kvitova first then Maria/Sabine. Both matches very tough to call!

jane Says:

Agree Kimberly. I am excited to watch these two semis to see what transpires.

Kimberly Says:

This is the most excited I have been about the WTA in such a long time. All four players are a pleasure to watch.

Kimberly Says:

Maria better serve well and keep down the UE’s. Lisicki is very dangerous. Apparently Lisicki is gluten free too, just like Nole.

BT Says:

Kimberly Says:
“The good news is this is sharapova’s second consecutive grand slam semen final.”

Am I the only one found that typo hilarious ;)

jane Says:

Ha ha BT. I actually missed it. LOL.

Kimberly Says:

Bt—my husband really found it funny too when I read him your comment.

OOPS. Sorry all. I would never write anything that crude intentionally! Especially about Maria!!!

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