Maria Sharapova Moves to Within Two Wins of Second Wimbledon Tennis Title

Maria Sharapova is two wins from her second Wimbledon tennis title.

The 2004 champion defeated No. 24 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1, 6-1 yesterday to set up a semifinal against Sabine Lisicki, the first German woman in 12 years to get this close to a Grand Slam championship. Lisicki, a wild card ranked 62nd in the world, beat France’s Marion Bartoli, the No. 9 seed, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1.

Fifth-seeded Sharapova is 12-3 in Grand Slam quarterfinals and 4-0 at the All England Club, where before this year she failed to reach the quarterfinals since 2006. In 2011, the 24- year-old Russian won a tournament in Rome and was runner-up in Miami. She also reached her first French Open semifinal and the last four at Indian Wells, California.

“I’ve worked really hard to get in this stage, but I’m not saying this is where I want to end,” Sharapova told reporters. “I want to keep going.”

Tomorrow’s other semifinal will be between Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka, who will meet for the second straight year at the tournament.

The men’s quarterfinals are scheduled today, with six-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland playing 12th-seeded Jo- Wilfried Tsonga from France on Centre Court and No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic from Serbia facing unseeded Australian 18-year-old Bernard Tomic on Court No. 1.

Murray, Nadal

After those matches, Britain’s Andy Murray will seek to overcome Spain’s Feliciano Lopez on Centre Court and defending champion Rafael Nadal, another Spaniard, will take on American 10th seed Mardy Fish on Court No. 1.

Yesterday, Kvitova beat Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, while No. 4 seed Azarenka of Belarus advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 win against 80th-ranked Tamira Paszek of Austria.

It was the first time since 1913 that all eight women’s quarterfinalists at Wimbledon came from Europe.

Last year, Kvitova beat Azarenka 7-5, 6-0 in the third round and went on to the semifinals, where she lost to eventual champion Serena Williams.

Lisicki recovered after squandering three match points in the second set, which Bartoli won in a tiebreaker, to become the first German woman to reach the semifinal of a Grand Slam since 22-time major singles champion Steffi Graf in 1999.

“I was disappointed with myself,” Lisicki said in a televised interview. “But I felt that I was the better player and I knew I had to focus and fight in the third set.”

Thunder Storm

Thunder, lightning and heavy rain accompanied part of Lisicki’s match, which was watched from the Royal Box by U.S. Open golf champion Rory McIlroy.

The 21-year-old Lisicki, who has delivered the fastest serve of the women’s tournament at 124 miles-per-hour (199kph), beat French Open champion Li Na in the second round.

Lisicki reached the quarterfinals two years ago and missed last year’s Wimbledon with an ankle injury that kept her away from the tour for five months. She earned a wild-card entry from the All England Club this year after winning a grass-court event in Birmingham, England, this month.

Bartoli, the 2007 runner-up, beat defending champion Serena Williams to reach the quarterfinals, while Pironkova ousted five-time champion Venus Williams for the second year in a row.

The results meant the quarterfinals didn’t include a Williams sister for the first time since 2006. The Americans had taken nine of the past 11 singles titles at Wimbledon and have also won four doubles championships together.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Rossingh at Wimbledon through the London sports desk at drossingh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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