No drop-off from Serena slayer

Day after upsetting Williams,Lisicki returns to beat Kanepi in the quarterfinals

Written by Agencies | London | Published:July 3, 2013 1:05 am

If Sabine Lisicki had a letdown after defeating Serena Williams,it didn’t show. If Lisicki is penciling herself into the Wimbledon final,she isn’t saying.

Showing no drop-off after her dramatic victory over Williams,the 23rd-seeded Lisicki returned Tuesday and made quick work of a much less intimidating opponent,46th-ranked Kaia Kanepi,dispatching her 6-3,6-3 in 65 minutes to advance to her second career Wimbledon semifinal.

“I was ready today,’’ Lisicki said. “I knew from the past,out of experience,that I needed to make the switch quickly to be ready,and that’s what I did.’’

Indeed. Lisicki opened the match by breaking Kanepi’s serve in the first game and didn’t look back in that set. In the second,she had one hiccup — a game in which she double-faulted three times to drop a break and fall behind 2-1. She broke back right away,however,and won four of the next five games to close out the match.

Now,the 23-year-old German finds herself in the Wimbledon semifinals for the second time in three years. Her win against Williams made her the new,odds-on favourite to win the title and even pushed Britain’s favourite tennis player,Andy Murray,off the back pages of a couple London tabloids.

Her next opponent is No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska,who defeated No. 6 Li Na 7-6 (5),4-6,6-2 in a match that took more than 3 hours to complete and included two rain delays,an injury timeout and a final game that lasted more than 10 minutes.

The other semifinal will pit No. 15 Marion Bartoli of France against No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

Flipkens beat eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6,6-3,6-4 to knock the last remaining Grand Slam tournament winner out of the draw. Flipkens won her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal,continuing quite a comeback from health problems that knocked her down to No. 262 last year,not even eligible for the Wimbledon qualifying tournament. “The people believing in me,I can count on one hand,’’ said Flipkens,who was sidelined with blood clots in her legs. “It’s amazing.’’

Bartoli knocked the last remaining American singles player out of the tournament,beating Sloane Stephens 6-4,7-5.

Novak still to lose a set

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic defeated Tommy Haas 6-1,6-4,7-6 (4) late on Monday night to advance to his 17th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal. He still hasn’t lost a set in the tournament. “I feel good about myself in this moment,” Djokovic said. “I’m No. 1 in the world. I have no reason to be concerned about my game.”

Save a few tense moments in the third set,there was little cause for concern for the Serb,who is going for his seventh Grand Slam title this week. He failed to serve out the match at 5-3 and wasted a match point in the next game before closing out the tiebreaker with a forehand winner on his fourth match point. He has yet to drop a set in this tournament.

Paes,Bopanna advance

India’s Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna breezed into the quarters and pre-quarterfinals of the men’s and mixed doubles events. Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek teamed up to knock out Polish duo Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski 6-4 6-2 6-4 in the third round of the men’s doubles even.

Bopanna paired up with Chinese Jie Zheng to post a straight set 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 win over Robert Farah of Columbia and Darija Jurak of Croatia in the second round of the mixed doubles event.

Fans in a fix after series of upsets

Diehard aficionados ready to queue all night to witness Wimbledon matches were delighted to find that it took them only three hours to get in to watch the women’s quarterfinals at Centre Court. Only,they were about to watch players whom Britain’s Times newspaper scornfully called “the women you’ve never heard of.”

Five-times champion Serena Williams is out. Maria Sharapova has gone. Only three of the top 10 seeds made it into the last eight. With one of the quarterfinal line-ups boasted of a showdown between Sabine Lisicki and Kaia Kanepi,fans were feeling a little underwhelmed.

“It has lost its edge. We are slightly disappointed,” confessed Daniel Francis. But putting a positive spin on a thoroughly British experience,he said: “I suppose it is good to see the underdogs just like we do in football with the FA Cup.”

Fans of Andy Murray were fanatical enough to queue from Friday to Monday for a chance to see their hero in action. Such devotion does not stretch to the women’s game. Jonathan Down could not believe his luck in the queue. “We got Centre Court tickets as there is much less interest.”

But BBC presenter Sue Barker,a former French Open winner,argued that change was positive. She said: “I would love to see Serena and Maria through but times change and times have to change. It’s lovely to see new faces and get some new stories.”

Novak Djokovic also welcomed the new-look second week. “It’s good for change in a way because top players are always expected to reach the final stages of major events,” he said. “I think it’s interesting also to see new faces for the crowd,for (the) tennis world in general.” Reuters

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