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Mari beat Dominika; enters semi-final

London, June 28 (agencies)
Published on 28 Jun. 2011 11:56 PM IST
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Maria Sharapova swept Dominika Cibulkova aside to march into her first Wimbledon semi-final since 2006. The 24-year-old Russian took exactly an hour to complete a 6-1 6-1 victory and set up a clash with Sabine Lisicki. Cibulkova, who beat top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the last round, could not live with the power or accuracy of the 2004 champion’s thumping groundstrokes. Sharapova crashed down 23 winners to clinch a runaway win and show why she is favourite to reclaim her title. The fifth seed, who is the only Grand Slam winner left in the tournament following the departure of the Williams sisters on Monday, lived up to that billing with a devastating display of power and panache under the Centre Court roof. She attacked from the start, winning eight games in a row after Cibulkova had held in the opener, and produced some stunning shots from either flank. Her Slovakian opponent had lost the opening set 6-1 in her fourth round victory over Wozniacki on Monday but, although she did break back to 1-2 at the start of the second, a repeat of that fightback rarely looked on the cards here. Cibulkova, who stayed rooted to the baseline, only won 40% of points on her first serve and was broken six times in total as Sharapova completed the most comfortable of victories. “It’s a few years since I got past the fourth round here, so it is nice to be in the semi-finals with a great chance to take it further,” Sharapova told the BBC afterwards. “But I’ve got a tough match coming up. Sabine is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence and really great grass court tennis so it won’t be easy.” Sharapova thumped Lisicki 6-2 6-0 in their only previous meeting, in Miami earlier this year. Meanwhile, India’s Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have advanced to the Wimbledon mixed doubles third round with their respective partners. Bhupathi and Elena Vesnina of Russia, seeded fourth, defeated Australian Stephen Huss and Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 7-6(3) Monday.  They will next meet unseeded Eric Butorac of USA and Olga Govortsova of Belarus. Paes and Cara Black of Zimababe, seeded 14th, defeated Rogier Wassen of the Netherlands and Alicja Rosolska of Poland 6-1, 6-4. Another Indian, Somdev Devvarman, and Kei Nishikori of Japan lost 3-6, 4-6, 6-7(5) to sixth seed Michael Llodra of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia. 

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