Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova advances to semifinals


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Maria Sharapova has made it to the Wimbledon semifinals for the first time since 2006, beating Dominika Cibulkova on Tuesday with a dominant performance of both baseline power and serving perseverance.

Sharapova took one hour exactly to overpower Slovakia’s Cibulkova 6-1, 6-1. The 5-foot-3 Cibulkova had upset top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki on Monday. Sharapova will meet German wild card Sabine Lisicki in one women’s semifinal.

“It’s an honor,” Sharapova said afterward. “It’s been a few years since I got past the fourth round, and now I’m in the semifinals with a chance to take it a step further.”


Sharapova, of Russia, won the first of her three major titles here in 2004 when she was a surprise winner, at age 17, over Serena Williams. Since then, Sharapova has won the U.S. Open and Australian Open but has won no majors since undergoing shoulder surgery in 2008.

It took Sharapova only 27 minutes to win the first set, and her set point came when Cibulkova wildly knocked a forehand long. Sharapova’s fiancée, former Los Angeles Laker Sasha Vujacic, waved one finger in understated celebration. He was more obviously clapping when Sharapova saved a break point in the final game and then, with some big serving, finally forced Cibulkova into a harmless forehand well off the court.

“Come on,” Sharapova shouted as Vujacic, now a member of the New Jersey Nets, stood and cheered.


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-- Diane Pucin, in London