Czech charge into semis for Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova

Compatriots Kvitova and Safarova will meet in the finals, ensuring a Czech in the final, after quarter-final victories at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

Petra Kvitova returns a shot to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova during her fourth round win at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships on Tuesday. Carl Court / AFP / July 1, 2014
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Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova led the Czech charge into the Wimbledon semi-finals on Tuesday, ensuring their nation a presence in the women’s final on Saturday.

Safarova beat Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3 6-1 to become the first woman through to the last four.

And in gathering gloom on Centre Court, 2011 champion Petra Kvitova proved too strong for 43rd-ranked compatriot Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, winning 6-1 7-5.

It was the furthest Safarova, 27, had advanced in 37 grand slam appearances.

“I played really well and wanted to get through this match and I am so happy,” the 23rd seed said.

“I was serving well and being aggressive and taking her time away and that was the key to the victory.”

Safarova will have to up the aggression and her game to overcome the 24-year-old sixth seed Kvitova who has played her compatriot fives times on the tour, winning every match.

On Tuesday she threatened to blow away Zahlavova Strycova who was clearly struggling to find her feet and her composure on a Centre Court still buzzing with excitement after Rafael Nadal’s shock defeat by Nick Kyrgios.

Using her powerful serve to great effect Kvitova sped through the set, converting her second set point with a heavy return that Zahlavova Strycova sent long.

Zahlavova Strycova, who had knocked out second seed Li Na and former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki on her way to the quarter-finals, fought hard in the second set, countering with some solid groundstrokes.

She even served for the set at 5-4 but she could not neutralise Kvitova’s power and the sixth seed broke back and won the next two games, triumphing with a forehand winner down the line.

It was the first time since the start of the professional era in 1968 that three Czech women had advanced to the quarter-finals of a grand slam tournament.

In Tuesday’s fourth round matches, Germans Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber advanced to the quarters, along with third-seeded Romanian Simona Halep, who breezed by Zarina Diyas 6-3, 6-0. Halep is the highest remaining seed in the women’s field.

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