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Lisicki cruises to second Wimbledon semifinal

No letdown for odds-on favourite following Serena shocker

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Sabine Lisicki celebrates a quarter-final victory over Kaia Kanepi in Wimbledon, London, Tuesday.

ANJA NIEDRINGHAUS / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Sabine Lisicki celebrates a quarter-final victory over Kaia Kanepi in Wimbledon, London, Tuesday.

LONDON -- If Sabine Lisicki had a letdown after defeating Serena Williams, it didn't show.

If Lisicki is pencilling 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."

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.

All of which means almost nothing -- at least to hear Lisicki tell it.

"Match by match," she said. "Did that from the start and will continue to do that."

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 31/2 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.

On the men's side, neither No. 1-seeded Novak Djokovic nor No. 2-seeded Murray has lost a set, let alone a match, so far at Wimbledon.

The way things have been going at the All England Club this fortnight, that's actually quite an accomplishment.

Rafael Nadal, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, was beaten in the first round. Roger Federer, owner of a record 17 major titles, went out in the second round, as did four-time major champ Maria Sharapova. Five-time Wimbledon winner Serena Williams' 34-match winning streak ended in the fourth round.

And on and on it's gone, with no top-20 player other than Murray left on his side of the draw, and a record-equalling number of withdrawals or mid-match retirements because of health problems.

"Everyone was a bit on edge, a little bit uptight," reigning U.S. Open champion Murray acknowledged, "because of what was happening with the injuries, withdrawals, upsets and stuff."

He and Djokovic have made it all look so routine, though, heading into the men's quarter-finals today.

On the top half of the bracket, Djokovic -- a six-time Grand Slam titlist and the only remaining past Wimbledon winner -- will face No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, the 2010 runner-up, while No. 4 David Ferrer of Spain plays No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, the 2009 U.S. Open champion and the third man yet to drop a set through four matches.

On the bottom half, it will be Murray against 54th-ranked Fernando Verdasco of Spain, and No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz against his Davis Cup teammate and pal, 130th-ranked Lukasz Kubot, in a match between the first two Polish men to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final since 1980.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 3, 2013 D5

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