29 Jun 2011

Sharapova favourite in Wimbledon semi-finals

10:39 am on 29 June 2011

Maria Sharapova swaggered into the Wimbledon semi-finals with a formidable display every bit as spectacular as the thunder claps that rattled the All England Club.

The Russian fifth seed, the stand-out name in an unfamiliar looking last eight, roared to a 6-1 6-1 win over shell-shocked Dominika Cibulkova under Centre Court's roof and now only wildcard Sabine Lisicki stands between Sharapova and her first final here since she won the tournament in 2004.

Lisicki continued her heart-warming run when she outlasted French livewire Marion Bartoli 6-4 6-7 6-1 to become the first German woman to reach the semis since Steffi Graf in 1999.

Play was eventually possible on the roof-less Court One where Czech Petra Kvitova beat Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3 6-7 6-2 in just over two hours to set up a semi-final against fourth seed Victoria Azarenka.

Belarussian Azarenka reached her first grand slam semi-final when she thrashed 20-year-old Austrian Tamira Paszek 6-3 6-1 in match that started on Court One but was switched to Centre Court after rain returned.