Azarenka will have her hands full against Kvitova in the other Wimbledon semifinal.


Victoria Azarenka was not distracted by an early change of scenery as she reached her maiden Wimbledon semi-final with a straight-sets hammering of unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek. Rain meant the quarter-final clash was moved to be played under Centre Court’s roof after just one game had been completed on Court One. The lengthy delay caused by the relocation did not put off the 21-year-old fourth seed though, as the highest-ranked player left in the draw delivered a brutal display. Azarenka had fallen at the quarter-final hurdle in grand slams on four occasions before today but she outclassed world number 80 Paszek to secure a 6-3 6-1 victory in an hour and 24 minutes on court to set up a last-four clash on Thursday with Czech Petra Kvitova.

“I’m really glad we managed to play and I’m really happy with the win,” Azarenka said. “I knew when we went back to the locker rooms they said they were going to have a meeting to decide where we were going to play. “I’m glad we managed to play and thank God for the roof. It is just amazing. “It’s my mum’s birthday today so I really wanted to give her a good gift so I was trying to play beautiful today.

Petra Kvitova was relieved to overcome the stage fright that descended when she realised she was on the brink of a second successive Wimbledon semi-final appearance. The Czech eighth seed coasted through the opening set and looked a major contender for the title as she overpowered Tsvetana Pironkova, Venus Williams’ fourth-round conqueror. But composure deserted her throughout the second set, especially in the latter stages of the tie-break, only to return in the decider as she prevailed 6-3 6-7 (7/5) 6-2. Kvitova, who had registered only straight sets victories until her game on Tuesday, admitted the prospect of an immediate return to the last four at the All England Club had weighed heavily on her mind. “I started very well. At the beginning I was better and I played so well like in previous matches,” said the 21-year-old. “But then I got a little nervous and in my mind there was something, I don’t know what it was. I was mentally down. “I became nervous because I knew that I could be in the semi-finals again and that was in my head. It wasn’t good for me and I made some easy mistakes. “So I was so happy that I won the first game in the third set, that I broke her. Then it was better.” Kvitova lost to Serena Williams in the semi-finals last year in what proved to be a bittersweet experience.




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