/ Tennis

Williams and Azarenka claims wins under Wimbeldon roof

Updated: Tuesday, 03 Jul 2012 23:06

Serena Williams was in magnifcent form as she dumped out Petra Kvitova
Serena Williams was in magnifcent form as she dumped out Petra Kvitova

Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash at Wimbledon as both women powered through their quarter-final matches under the Centre Court roof.

Williams sent defending champion Petra Kvitova packing in one the most eagerly-anticipated clashes of the tournament so far before second seed Azarenka dispatched Austrian Tamira Paszek in straight sets.

Four-time champion Williams turned on the style on her debut under the Centre Court roof to out-muscle her Czech opponent in a 6-3 7-5 win.

The 30-year-old American used her powerful serve to great effect in the match, sending down 13 aces and winning 86% of her first-serve points in her best performance in the tournament so far.

Williams revealed a pre-match pep-talk from her dad and sister Venus had inspired her to victory against the Czech fourth seed.

"I had a good talk with my dad, he motivated me, and my sister as well," Williams said.

"I had a talk with Patrick (Mouratoglou - Williams' coach) too. It was great. All three of those got me really motivated to do better and be the player that I know I can be.

"I just took to heart what everyone said. I really prayed about it, just to have calmness of mind and just go forward and do the best I can do, whether that's winning or losing."

Kvitova admitted Williams is now her pick to win the championship following her dominant display.

"I think so," the 22-year-old said, when asked if Williams was now the tip to win the tournament.

"I think I didn't play badly, but she just served very well and that was the big difference.

"I can't say it's impossible to beat her because she's human, but I think that's why she is a great champion, because she knows what she needs to play the important points.

"I think it's really tough to beat her."

Meanwhile, Azarenka saw off Paszek thanks to a second set tie-break after the Austrian fired long on match point to win 6-3 7-6 (7/4).

Azarenka said: "The games were really close. At the beginning of the second set we were really holding our serves well.

"It was a close match and there were a lot of long rallies but I'm glad I could manage to win.

"It's a great feeling to be in the semi-final of a grand slam but I still want to go all the way and it still seems so far away.

"There's no better opponent than Serena in the semi-finals so I'm really looking forward to that match."

Eighth seed Angelique Kerber booked her place in the last four with a hard-fought win over fellow German Sabine Lisicki.

Kerber claimed a 6-3 6-7 (9/7) 7-5 win over Maria Sharapova's conqueror after two-and-a-half hours to reach her first Wimbledon semi-final.

It was a rollercoaster battle, and Kerber looked like she had blown her chance when she missed three match points in the second set and then trailed 5-3 in the decider.

But Lisicki faltered when serving for the match and eighth seed Kerber reeled off four games in a row to triumph under the Centre Court roof.

Kerber said: "It's unbelievable, the match was so tough. Suddenly she played unbelievable tennis. I'm very happy to be in the semis here for the first time.

"We have known each other from a young age and it was mentally not easy, but it doesn't matter who you play, you have to play your best and I stuck to my plan and played a very good match I think."

In the other rain-affected quarter-final, Agnieszka Radwanska and Maria Kirilenko finished off the last few games of their match under the roof on Centre Court.

The match was suspended on Court One due to failing light at quarter to eight, with Kirilenko marginally ahead in the third set, 5-7 6-4 4-4 15-0.

However, after the break, Radwanska powered ahead to win 5-7 6-4 7-5 to set up a semi-final clash against Kerber.

The Polish number three seed will become world number one if she wins the title and rival Azarenka is knocked out at the semi-final stage.