Flipkens defies odds to reach semi-finals

Belgian Kirsten Flipkens caused a Centre Court sensation as she dumped the 2011 champion Petra Kvitova out of Wimbledon to reach the semi-finals yesterday.

Flipkens, who started the tournament as a 325/1 shot, beat Kvitova 4-6 6-3 6-4 under the famous arena’s roof last night.

Kvitova was hoping to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish after Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova all suffered shock defeats earlier in the tournament.

But Flipkens prevailed to record a win that she found hard to take in.

“It’s amazing, it’s more than a dream come true to be in the semi-finals of a grand slam, it’s ridiculous,” the stunned 20th seed said.

“Last year I did not even get into the qualifying at Wimbledon. I was 260th in the world and today I am in the semi-finals of Wimbledon. It cannot be better.”

She now faces Marion Bartoli, who enjoyed a straight-sets victory over Sloane Stephens in a rain-affected match on Court One. Bartoli, who lost to Venus Williams in the 2007 final, came through 6-4 7-5 to set up the clash with Flipkens.

Meanwhile, fearless German Sabine Lisicki is one step away from the women’s Wimbledon final after she saw off Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-3 yesterday. Lisicki beat defending champion Serena Williams the day before and is now the favourite to win the tournament outright.

“I am definitely very happy to win that, especially after yesterday’s win (against WIlliams),” Lisicki said.

“I was ready today. There was for me no pressure at all. I went out there to enjoy my game and win the match.”

Next up is a semi-final clash with fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Radwanska fought through the pain barrier after she suffered a thigh injury during her hard-fought quarter-final win over Li Na. The Pole put in a gutsy performance to beat her Chinese opponent 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 6-2 after saving four set points in the opening set and soldiered on to claim victory in two hours and 43 minutes despite needing extensive treatment at the end of the second.

Today sees the start of the four men’s quarter-finals with Novak Djokovic facing Tomas Berdych. Djokovic is the favourite but is wary of the Czech’s threat. “He knows how to play on grass,” said the Serb. “I’m expecting a difficult match.”

The winner of their clash will face David Ferrer or Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals. Del Potro, currently nursing a knee injury, has yet to take a set off the Spaniard in a grass-court match and is facing the fourth seed at the All England Club for the second successive year.

“David is having a fantastic season,” the Argentinian eighth seed said. “I think it’s going to be a really, really tough match for me.”

Ferrer’s fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco is bidding to make the final four in the other half of the draw against home favourite Andy Murray. The victor faces either Lukasz Kubot or Jerzy Janowicz, whose clash guarantees Poland its first male grand slam singles semi-finalist.

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