Thursday, July 25, 2024

Sharapova storms into semis


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LONDON: Fifth seed and tournament favourite Maria Sharapova powered into the Wimbledon semifinals with an emphatic 6-1, 6-1 win over an outgunned Dominika Cibulkova on Tuesday.

The tall Russian, the last former champion left in the women’s draw having triumphed in 2004, broke three times in the first set under the Centre Court roof as she dominated the small Slovak from the baseline.

Three further breaks in the second set meant victory, in just over an hour, was a mere formality on the grass.

Having not dropped a set all tournament, Sharapova now looks hot favourite to seal her fourth Grand Slam title and meets German wildcard Sabine Lisicki in Thursday’s last four.

Earlier, six-time champion Roger Federer recovered from losing the first set to move into the Wimbledon quarterfinals with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny on Monday.

Federer made serene progress through his first three matches at the All England Club without dropping a single set, but the third seed was unable to preserve that record against Youzhny on Court One.

The 29-year-old lost the opening set of the match in a tie-break, although he wasn’t too concerned about that as he quickly recovered his composure to see off the tenacious 18th seed and set up a last eight clash against France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Federer, who last won Wimbledon in 2009, has now reached 29 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-finals to extend his Open era record and remains on course to equal Pete Sampras’s record of seven Wimbledon men’s singles titles. “It was a tough first set to lose in the end because I was playing well,” Federer said.

“To lose the first set in a Slam is tricky mentally. You think ‘Is he going to get a boost and play even better’. It can be quite dangerous so I was pleased to win the second set with two breaks.”

Youzhny had lost all 10 of his meetings with Federer and hadn’t even won a set in their last six encounters.

History proved an astute guide in the end, but it took a while before Federer stamped his authority on the match. (Agencies)


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