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Petra Kvitova returns to Wimbledon semifinals

June 28, 2011 | 11:01 am

Lnil42nc Petra Kvitova cracked an ace on match point and the 21-year-old left-hander from the Czech Republic  reached her second straight Wimbledon semifinal Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2 win over 23-year-old Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.

Kvitova, seeded eighth and also was a quarterfinalist at this year's Australian Open, is trying to become the first left-handed Wimbledon winner since Martina Navratilova. Kvitova said the key game of the match was the first one of the third set when she broke the serve of the 32nd-seeded Pironkova, who had beaten Venus Williams on Monday for the second straight year here.

"I'm very happy to be through," Kvitova said. "It was a nervous match for my side. I served great at the beginning but I don't know what was in my mind in the second."

In Thursday's semifinals Kvitova will play the winner of the final women's quarterfinal between fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka and unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek. Fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova will play unseeded wild card Sabine Lisicki in the other semifinal.

"It will be better for me that I was in the semifinal last year," Kvitova said. "Last year I had the experience of standing on Centre Court in a semifinal."

Kvitova said she grew up idolizing Navratilova, who was also from the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia). "I try my best to be like her," Kvitova said.


Maria Sharapova advances to Wimbledon semifinals

Rafael Nadal's foot is not broken, so it's on with Mardy Fish

-- Diane Pucin in Wimbledon, England

Photo: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic returns a shot during her quarterfinal round match against Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria. Credit: Clive Brunskill / Getty Images