Opportunity knocks as outsiders reach semis

Updated: 2013-07-03 09:34


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Contorted backhand

She even played one contorted backhand winner from a sitting position during the heat of battle and needed eight match points to claim only her second win in nine Grand Slam quarterfinals.

"From the first point to the last it was a really great battle," Radwanska, who saved four set points before winning the opening set, told reporters.

She needed an injury time-out after Li stormed back from 4-2 down in the second set with some aggressive tennis and played the decider with bandages on both thighs.

"It's been really tough," she said. "My legs are bit over-used but I'll do everything in my power to be ready."

A quarterfinal line-up lacking the A-listers of the women's game had prompted some scornful headlines.

However, the novelty factor added to the intrigue and fans flocking into the grounds reading up on the merits of Sloane Stephens and a Belgian nicknamed "Flipper" were provided with a refreshing variety of styles.

The was also an absence of the grunts and shrieks that often get louder and louder at the business end of Grand Slams.

American Stephens, the 17th seed, is being tipped as the natural successor to Williams but against idiosyncratic Frenchwoman Bartoli, whose punchy groundstrokes are tailor-made for grass, her inexperience was exposed.

Bartoli angered the Court One crowd by refusing to play in light rain when Stephens served to stay in the first set and after a lengthy break returned to move ahead.

Stephens was broken to love three times in a second set containing eight consecutive service breaks and doube-faulted when serving at 5-6 to help Bartoli over the finishing line.

Flipkens, who is short-sighted and plays in glasses, slipped down the rankings last year after suffering blood clots in her legs but has soared back up the standings this year.

Serving beautifully and showing no nerves in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal the Belgian 20th seed recovered from being out-hit by left-hander Czech Kvitova to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

"It's amazing, more than a dream coming true," said Flipkens who became the first Belgian to reach the Wimbledon semifinals since Justine Henin in 2007.

"Semifinals of a Grand Slam, ridiculous. Last year I didn't get into qualifying of Wimbledon."

Attention turns back to the men's quarterfinals on Wednesday with top seed Novak Djokovic facing Czech Tomas Berdych and home favorite Andy Murray up against Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

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