Petra Kvitova returns to Wimbledon semifinals
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.
-- 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