Sharapova storms into semi-final

Maria Sharapova, former world number one, coasted to an impressive win in the quarter-final and will now make her first appearance at the Wimbledon semis since 2006. PHOTO: AFP


Maria Sharapova stormed into the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time since 2006, blasting aside Dominika Cibulkova with an emphatic 6-1, 6-1 quarter-final victory.

Cibulkova, who had stunned world number one and top-seed Caroline Wozniacki in the last-16, never looked like repeating that upset against Sharapova, who is the heavy favourite to repeat her 2004 triumph.

The Russian fifth-seed unleashed a string of thunderous groundstrokes to overwhelm her Slovakian opponent, and now faces German wildcard Sabine Lisicki in the last-four for a place in the final.

“It’s an honour to be in the semi-final,” said Sharapova.

“Every opponent is different. I have a tough opponent coming up and I’m looking forward to the match. She’s confident and playing great grasscourt tennis.” Sharapova, who had not dropped a set enroute to the quarter-finals, was quickly into her groove, stretching Cibulkova with an array of shots that left the Slovakian flailing.

Lisicki defeats Bartoli

Lisicki became the first German woman to reach a Wimbledon semi-final since Steffi Graf in 1999 when she defeated French ninth-seed Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.

As thunder rumbled over the All England Club and torrential rain lashed the £80 million Centre Court roof, the 21-year-old Lisicki also became just the second wildcard to make the last-four.

“I was very disappointed with myself after serving at 5-4 for the match. But I really decided to just go for it,” said Lisicki.

“I felt I was the better player and I just had to fight and focus in the third set to win it.

“It’s so unbelievable. I can’t explain how I feel at the moment. It was such a tough road back. It’s just so wonderful to be standing on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, which I love so much.”

I’m fit to play: Rafa

Defending champion Rafael Nadal said that he will be fit to play his Wimbledon quarter-final against Mardy Fish today after a scan revealed he had not suffered a serious left foot injury.

The world number one suffered the injury in Monday’s last-16 win over Juan Martin del Potro and immediately revealed that his future participation in the tournament was in doubt. But the 25-year-old revealed that he will be fit to tackle Fish.

“After the match [against del Porto] I went to take an MRI at a London hospital,” he said.

“During the match I thought I had something serious. But as the match went on the pain got better and thankfully the tests don’t show an injury.”

Nadal, who was unable to defend his Wimbledon title in 2009 because of a knee injury, had his foot bandaged at 6-6 in the first set of his 7-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 triumph over Argentine 24th-seed Del Potro on Monday.

The top seed was immediately despondent over his chances of taking on American 10th-seed Fish.

“I cannot predict the future but I am worried for sure,” said the Spaniard.

Federer gives out warning

Roger Federer has warned Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray that it will take a huge effort to stop either him or Nadal from winning yet another Wimbledon title.

“We’ve got to wait and see how this turns out because it could be a repeat of the Djokovic and Murray final in Australia and then I was wrong. If it’s not the case, then I was right,” said Federer.

“At the end of the day, I don’t care if I’m wrong or right. I know where my game is at. I know where Rafa’s game is at.”

Aisam, Peschke crash out

Pakistan tennis ace Aisamul Haq Qureshi and his partner Kveta Peschke crashed out of the mixed doubles tournament at Wimbledon. Aisam and his Czech partner lost 6-3, 6-1 to the Israel pair of Jonathan Erlich and Shahar Peer. After losing the first set, Aisam and Peschke tried to make a comeback but remained unsuccessful. Earlier, the Pakistani player and his Indian partner Rohan Bopanna also lost in the first round of the men’s doubles event.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2011.


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