Sharapova towers over Cibulkova to make semis | Pakistan Today

Sharapova towers over Cibulkova to make semis

Fifth seed Maria Sharapova, the last giant left in the women’s draw, powered into the Wimbledon semi-finals after being head and shoulders above diminutive Slovak Dominika Cibulkova in a 6-1 6-1 demolition on Tuesday. Having not dropped a set all tournament, the Russian looks hot favourite to seal her fourth grand slam title and meets German wildcard Sabine Lisicki in the last four on Thursday.
“It’s really an honour, it’s been a few years since I got past the fourth round,” Sharapova said in a televised interview.
“Every opponent is different and every day is different. I have a tough opponent coming up and I’m looking forward to it. She is a player playing with a lot of confidence right now.” The Russian, the last former champion left among the women having triumphed in 2004, broke three times in the first set under the Centre Court roof as she dominated 24th seed Cibulkova from the baseline.
Three further breaks in the second set meant victory, in just over an hour, was a mere formality on the grass. Cibulkova beat Sharapova 6-0 6-2 in the French Open in 2009 when the Russian was coming back from a serious shoulder injury and wondered whether she would ever reach the top again. “To be in the semis of Wimbledon is a bonus. To come back and play tennis after a big injury, I was just happy to be back on court,” she added.
Lisicki storms into semis, Nadal injury eases: Sabine Lisicki continued her heart-warming run at this year’s Wimbledon championships when she beat Marion Bartoli on Tuesday to become the first German woman to reach the semi-finals since 1999.
The 21-year-old, who needed a wildcard into the tournament after sliding down the rankings due to a career-threatening ankle injury, played sparkling tennis to beat livewire ninth seed Bartoli 6-4 6-7 6-1 as rain drummed on Centre Court’s closed roof and thunder rumbled. After the sticky heat of Monday, the heavens opened over the All England Club just before the scheduled 1200 GMT start following an ear-splitting crack from the darkening skies. Maria Sharapova, the only women’s quarter-finalist to boast a grand slam title, was due on Centre Court later for her clash with Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, conqueror of world number one Caroline Wozniacki in a fourth round full of shocks. With more rain forecast organisers have the option of playing all four quarter-finals under the Centre Court roof, although that decision would prove unpopular with fans holding expensive tickets for Court One. Even before a ball was struck on Tuesday all the talk around the grounds was the state of men’s champion Rafa Nadal’s injured foot which he feared could end his tournament. However, the world number one issued a statement saying that a scan had revealed no serious injury and he would practise as normal later before his last-eight clash against American Mardy Fish. “Thankfully the tests don’t show an injury,” Nadal, who needed lengthy treatment during his four-set win over Juan Martin del Potro on Monday said.
The unfamiliar line-up of the women’s last eight produced some raised eyebrows but Lisicki and Bartoli produced a riveting contest full of incredible rallies. Lisicki missed five months in 2010 with an ankle injury and slumped to 179th in the rankings from a high of 22nd in 2009 when she also reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. The bubbly German, who beat French Open champion Li Na in the second round, also suffered a health scare in Roland Garros where she was carried off on a stretcher following a second round defeat by Vera Zvonareva.
There was nothing wrong with her on Tuesday, though, as she finally exhausted the eccentric Frenchwoman’s reserves of energy which had seen her through several tough rounds including Monday’s shock defeat of reigning champion Serena Williams. The powerful German took the opening set in 42 minutes and recovered from a break down in the second to serve for her first grand slam semi-final at 5-4, only to squander three match points when she was struck by nerves. A netted backhand cost her the first, then she hit the net tape with an attempted drop shot, one of the few occasions she failed to win the point with her favourite shot.
The third went begging when she fired a forehand wide and a fired-up Bartoli, employing all her bizarre pre-point rituals such as jumping, practise swings and sprinting on the spot, broke back before levelling the match in the tiebreak. A sweat-streaked Bartoli was visibly suffering with fatigue in the decider, though, and Lisicki forged ahead to seal victory. “My legs were cramping, my mind was working but I ran out of gas and there’s nothing I could do,” Bartoli said. In the other quarter-finals, Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova plays eighth seed Petra Kvitova and Austria’s 20-year-old Tamira Paszek plays fourth seed Victoria Azarenka.

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