Conquerors of the Williams sisters bow out as Kvitova stakes claim

Even when they are no longer here, the Williams sisters cast a long shadow. Yesterday, both the women who had the temerity to send them home found they had inadequate reserves to deal with their next opponents.

Just like Marion Bartoli, Tsvetana Pironkova was confined in her quarter-final to salvaging dignity with an unexpected fightback from the brink in the second set. But she, too, had nothing left to give in the decider and was ultimately brushed aside by the No 8 seed, Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2.

Neither player had previously dropped a set in the tournament, but that seemed to be all they had in common as Kvitova hurtled into an early lead. Having been made to wait for three and a half hours by rain, the left-hander once again looked in a tearing hurry. Only one of her previous matches had taken as many as 65 minutes, and she broke Pironkova to love in the very first game with a series of violent forehands. She was soon 5-1 up and, though ceding one of her breaks, she had wrapped up the first set in 30 minutes.

To her credit, Pironkova regrouped in the second set and exploited a temporary loss in her intimidating opponent's rhythm to break in the fifth game. Kvitova responded impressively, winning her next service game to love and then proceeding to level, but still contrived to lose a 4-1 lead in the tie-break. Once again, however, she did not lose track of her underlying momentum.

Both players had made the last four last year, and Pironkova had got back on a roll after arriving with just four matches to her name in 2010. But she faltered again on break point in the first game of the deciding set, serving a double-fault, and Kvitova – vexed not to have polished off the job previously – overpowered her thereafter, sealing the issue with her ninth ace in 121 minutes. She had hit 54 winners, against just 10 from her opponent.

Kvitova has gained in composure and belief since meeting Serena Williams in the semi-final last year. Standing between her and the final is a woman appearing in the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time, Victoria Azarenka.

The Belarusian beat Tamira Paszek 6-3, 6-1 in a match transferred to Centre Court from Court One when the weather closed in after just one game. Azarenka had a couple of wobbles after opening up a 5-1 lead in the opening set, but really found her feet in the second with some voracious court coverage. At 21, she is a contemporary of both Kvitova and Sabine Lisicki. Perhaps the Williams sisters' shadow is only so long because the sun is finally setting.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London