• Wimbledon, Day Eight

Flipkens stuns Kvitova to set up Bartoli semi-final

ESPN staff
July 2, 2013
Petra Kvitova called for the trainer during her match with Kirsten Flipkens, but was outclassed over three sets © PA Photos

Kirsten Flipkens put in a superb performance to oust Petra Kvitova 4-6 6-3 6-4 and reach a grand slam semi-final for the first time in her career, where she will face Marion Bartoli.

Flipkens, also playing in her first ever Wimbledon quarter-final, did not look out of place on Centre Court and settled quickly with two routine holds as the match stayed with serve at the first changeover.

It was the Belgian who looked more comfortable in the opening exchanges - hitting two powerful forehand winners to signify her intention of carrying on the 2013 trend of upsets at SW19.

However, Kvitova responded and edged a tight deuce game on her serve to level before landing two looping efforts inside the baseline to force the first break.

Yet Kvitova's forehand - usually a strong ally - suffered a rare lapse as the Czech sent two wild shots wide of the line to gift the immediate break back.

Flipkens, wearing a snazzy pair of goggles under the roof, could not take advantage of the momentum as solid defensive work from her eighth seed opponent saw a third successive break of serve.

Kvitova was heavily tested when serving for the first set, but held on strong through numerous deuce points to move within one of the semi-final.

Continuing the cagey start to the tie, neither player gave the other an inch in the first five games of the second set as both looked comfortable on their serve.

Cue the fireworks - after exchanging blows in a pulsating rally, Flipkens brought up break point with a marvellous sliced backhand. Kvitova, still stunned by the previous winner, tamely found the net to give the 28-year-old the advantage in set two.

World No. 20 Flipkens, who berated a journalist for causing too much noise when broadcasting above her fourth round match, did not disappoint and sent down an ace to level the match at one set apiece.

The decider proved equally as tight, Flipkens saving break point with a deft volley over the net while Kvitova looked strong on her serve.

Despite victory, Marion Bartoli was not entirely comfortable on Court One © PA Photos

However, Flipkens broke in the ninth following a long overhead from her opponent before serving out the match to clinch her place in the semi-final.

Flipkens will face Marion Bartoli after the world No. 15 overcame young American Sloane Stephens 6-4 7-5 despite a rain delay on Court One.

Bartoli started the stronger, but was not entirely satisfied with proceedings as she sent a ball boy off with two rackets to be restrung by her contingent.

Stephens battled to save three break points and level at three all in a tight first set, but it was the Frenchwoman who was most upset as the rain began to fall - even when playing for break and set point.

After Bartoli's brief demonstration with the sole of her shoe to show a lack of grip, the umpire called for the delay as the heavens opened - with the sixth game in deuce. The break did not do any favours for Stephens as she netted a forehand on return to gift her opponent the set.

Bartoli took immediate initiative at the second, holding before issuing the early break without reply as Stephens struggled to regain rhythm on Court One.

However, a string of unforced errors allowed both to break the other three times - which saw Bartoli serving for the match.

With serve seemingly becoming a disadvantage, Stephens again forced break point before staying in the match with a superb backhand down the line.

Stephens followed with a hold, but Bartoli restored parity with ease before the 2007 runner-up broke for the match with a cross-court forehand.

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