Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova Advance to Wimbledon Semifinals


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In the quarterfinals at Wimbledon on Tuesday, Serena Williams defeated Victoria Azarenka, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

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Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

WIMBLEDON, England — In an era when Spanish men have been staples of top-tier tennis, Wimbledon sees the country’s flag carried on by a woman: Garbiñe Muguruza, who has outlasted all the men by reaching the semifinals.

Muguruza, a 21-year-old seeded 20th, beat 15th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky, 7-5, 6-3, to secure a spot in the final four of a Grand Slam event for the first time.

“I’m surprised that my first semifinals is on grass,” said Muguruza, who was twice before a quarterfinalist at the French Open. “But I think I’m playing really good. I think the surface helps me.”

Though Muguruza was surprised by the location of her breakthrough, Serena Williams was not. Muguruza stunned Williams, 6-2, 6-2, in the second round of the French Open last year, a loss Williams avenged in the fourth round of the Australian Open this year.

“She’s super young, and I definitely see her as someone to watch and be careful for because she knows how to play,” Williams said. “I think this is probably a good surface for her.”

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Maria Sharapova earned her first spot in a Wimbledon semifinal since she was a runner-up in 2011.

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Facundo Arrizabalaga/European Pressphoto Agency

Though Spain has been a dominant country on all surfaces on the men’s side for a decade, success for Spanish women has been elusive at Wimbledon, where the quick, low bounce is counterproductive to the heavy topspin ubiquitous among the country’s players. Muguruza is the first woman from Spain to reach a Wimbledon semifinal since Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario in 1997. Conchita Martinez, who was named Spain’s Davis Cup captain on Monday, won Wimbledon in 1994.

Muguruza said she did not want to think about making history for her country.

“I don’t want to think about this because I don’t think it’s going to help me right now to have these things on my mind,” she said. “I just want to get ready for my next match.”

Muguruza’s next match will be against 13th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat 21st-seeded Madison Keys, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3.

It was a battle of sharp contrasts, with Keys’s percussive power countered by the wispy Radwanska’s anticipation and steady guile. Keys littered the stats sheet with 48 winners and 40 unforced errors, while Radwanska had only 13 winners and seven unforced errors.

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Wimbledon 2015

“I think for the most part I feel like I was dictating a lot of the points,” Keys said. “It definitely was on my racket. But, again, that’s why she’s so good. She can get to lots of balls and, you know, make you hit the extra ball.”

Radwanska, a 2012 Wimbledon runner-up, finished her victory with an inside-out forehand winner hit behind Keys, who slipped and fell to the dirt behind the baseline as Radwanska raised her arms in triumph.

“Couldn’t be any better,” Radwanska said of reaching a third Wimbledon semifinal. “I’m just so happy I could stay in that match. It was very tight, point by point, game by game.”

It figures to be tight again for Radwanska on Thursday against Muguruza, a powerful hitter whom she lost to twice early this year on hardcourts. But Radwanska said facing Keys was the perfect preparation for her next match.

“I think it’s going to be similar with Muguruza,” she said. “We’ll see how it’s going to be, if that will be similar with the serve, groundstrokes. Madison is also the player hitting the ball very hard, really stepping into the court, not giving you a lot of chances.”

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CoCo Vandeweghe, had a remarkable run on her way to the quarterfinals, beating No. 11 seed Karolina Pliskova, No. 22 Samantha Stosur and No. 6 Lucie Safarova.

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Justin Tallis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For Keys, reaching the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the semifinals of the Australian Open this year has only served to increase her hunger.

“I’m definitely happy with how I’ve been doing so far this year,” she said. “But making semis and quarters just makes you want it that much more. I mean, as happy as I am that I’m getting further and further in Slams, still you want more.”

CoCo Vandeweghe, a 23-year-old American, had never been further than the third round at a Grand Slam event before her run at Wimbledon this year. After beating No. 11-seeded Karolina Pliskova, No. 22 Samantha Stosur and No. 6 Lucie Safarova en route to the quarterfinals, she looked undaunted against fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova. Vandeweghe, ranked 47th, ultimately lost, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-2, in 2 hours 46 minutes, the longest of the 124 matches played in the women’s tournament so far.

Novak Djokovic, the top seed in the men’s draw, won his suspended fourth-round match against Kevin Anderson, 6-7 (3), 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.

The match was halted Monday night because of darkness after four sets. The players returned to Court 1 on Tuesday afternoon, and after a short rain delay, they played as evenly as they had the day before.

Anderson, a South African seeded 14th, had two break points in the fourth game but failed to convert. The players were on serve until the 11th game, when Anderson double-faulted on consecutive points to set up a break point for Djokovic at 15-40.

Anderson, who had 40 aces in the match, summoned a great serve out wide, but Djokovic returned it to the feet of the approaching Anderson who, at 6 feet 8 inches, could not get down low enough for it. The ball rolled off the frame of his racket into the net to give Djokovic a 6-5 lead. He closed out the match on his own serve in the next game.

The final set required only 45 minutes of work, but Djokovic’s quarterfinal against ninth-seeded Marin Cilic is Wednesday.



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