Flipkens upsets former champion Kvitova

After failing to qualify for Wimbledon last year, Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens is to face Marion Bartoli in semi-finals.

    Flipkens upsets former champion Kvitova
    Wimbledon semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens was ranked 262 in the world just 12 months ago [AFP]

    Bespectacled Belgian outsider Kirsten Flipkins threw her name into the hat of Wimbledon's giant-slayers as she beat 2011 champion Petra Kvitova 4-6 6-3 6-4 on a floodlit Centre Court to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals on Tuesday.

    Kvitova had been the last grand slam champion left in the women's draw but she joined the likes of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Li Na on the All England Club scrapheap after being suffocated under Centre Court's closed roof.

    All seemed on track when eighth seed Kvitova took the first set but she came unstuck in the second and called on the trainer after falling behind 5-2.

    It's amazing, it's more than a dream come true to be in the semi-final of a Grand Slam, it's ridiculous

    Kirsten Flipkens, Semi-finalist

    She popped a pill and had her temperature checked and although she appeared to get a second wind after surrendering the second set, a rush of blood when she charged to the net and fired a forehand volley long at break point down in the ninth game cost her dear.

    Flipkins, who is known as Flipper on the tour, kept her cool to serve out a momentous victory with an ace.

    "It's amazing, it's more than a dream come true to be in the semi-final of a Grand Slam, it's ridiculous," Flipkens said.

    "Last year I didn't even get into the qualifying of Wimbledon.

    "Kim (Clijsters) was one of the few people last year really believing in me.

    "I am so happy you cannot imagine. I don't even have tears."

    She will next face Marion Bartoli who moved to within one match of a surprise second Wimbledon final appearance after beating American Sloane Stephens 6-4 7-5 in a bizarre rain-interrupted quarter-final that featured eight successive breaks of serve.

    There was little to choose between the two players until a two and a half hour rain break late in the first set, which the hyper-active French 15th seed took immediately upon resumption. 

    There followed an extraordinary second set that included eight successive dropped service games, most of them to love as Stephens, the only remaining American in the either singles competition, garnered only one point in four service games.

    Both women finally managed a hold each before Bartoli, who lost to Venus Williams in the 2007 final and has yet to drop a set in five matches in this tournament, broke to love again to triumph.

    In the earlier quarter-finals, Sabine Lisicki defeated Kaia Kanepi to reach her second Wimbledon semi and highest surviving seed Agnieszka Radwanska overpowered China's Li Na.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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