• Wimbledon, Day Nine

Serena ends Kvitova's Wimbledon defence

ESPN staff
July 3, 2012 « Arthur: England will feel Pietersen loss | Chartbeat test »

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Serena Williams took a step closer to a fifth Wimbledon title as she dumped out defending champion Petra Kvitova to reach the semi-finals.

Williams, who had been pushed to three sets by Zheng Jie and Yaroslava Shvedova in her last two matches, had admitted she would have to step up against the No. 4 seed and she was true to her word as she roared to a 6-3 7-5 victory on Centre Court.

In a match worthy of the final, Williams was the model of composure, looking imperious on serve as a single break in each set was enough to see her reach her sixth semi-final at Wimbledon.

As the pair traded baseline blows, Williams capitalised on a wobble by Kvitova to take first blood - breaking when a Kvitova forehand blazed wide. The American produced a refined drop shot to consolidate her advantage and never looked in danger of surrendering her serve as she fired 17 winners en route to taking the opener.

Kvitova did raise her game in the second set she began to find the lines, each hold of serve forcing Williams to respond. The Czech had the chance to force the match to a decider, but Williams held firm, saving set point before breaking Kvitova in her final game to wrap the match with the help of three aces.

Williams, the only former champion remaining in the draw, will now face former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals, after the Australian Open champion navigated her way past Tamira Paszek 6-3 7-6(4).

In a match lasting close to two hours, Azarenka was clearly the better player, creating nine break chances to four. However, she was pegged back when serving for the match as Paszek forced a tiebreaker, finally getting off court after 9pm in the evening.

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