Wimbledon 2013: Agnieszka Radwanska stumbles before crossing line

Radwanska remains the highest surviving seed, at No 4

Wimbledon

No fewer than eight match points were required to see off the stubborn challenge of China’s best ever player, Li Na, but Agnieszka Radwanska finally achieved it to win 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 and reach her second successive semi-final here.

Twelve months ago she lost the final to Serena Williams, but she remains the highest surviving seed, at No 4, going into Thursday’s encounter with Sabine Lisicki.

It was a high-quality match with long rallies contributing to the duration of almost two and three quarter hours, although both women – especially Li, who did so some 70 times – were also prepared to come to the net. There were two breaks for rain and Radwanska called for a long spell of treatment to her thigh immediately after losing the second set. Li Na sat munching a banana and studying her notes during that period but was never in contention again, being broken immediately at the start of the third. From there on it was mere defiance.

Radwanska won the first set, though only because Li declined to challenge on a set point that Hawkeye showed she would have won. It was one of four, none of which she could take, and in a tie-break full of mini-breaks the Chinese was ahead 5-3, only to lose the next four points and fall behind.

Light rain started just as the set was decided, causing a 14-minute break. In the second set, Radwanska led 4-2 before Li broke back, took advantage of an outrageous three winners off the net in one game for 5-4 and then broke for the set, taking advantage of a weak 66mph serve.

Radwanska immediately called a medical time-out and came out for the final set with a heavily bandaged right thigh to break immediately. Play was suspended at 2-0 and Li was soon in trouble on her serve again, suffering a break point four times at 1-3 and failing to save the fourth one.

She would have hoped to get Radwanska running around the court but although the Pole complained of “too much tennis in the last few days”, her legs held up. Li’s serve was now suffering and there were two match points against her at 5-1, both saved.

Radwanska summoned the trainer again for a massage to both legs, then had six more match points. She was devising ever more frustrating ways to spurn them, including a double fault, but at last forced Li to hit long for a passage to the last four.

 



Marion Bartoli of France was an unpopular winner by 6-4, 7-5 over American youngster Sloane Stephens after she insisted on stopping play when light rain began on Court One. Bartoli was only a point away from taking the first set at the time.

An extraordinary second set then developed in which neither player could hold serve. After Bartoli did so in the opening game, there were eight successive breaks, Stephens suffering right to the end with another poor service game costing her the match.

Bartoli, seeded 15, will play Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, the 20th seed and heiress to Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, who defeated Petra Kvitova, the powerful Czech left-hander 4-6,  6-3, 6-4. Kvitova, the 2011 champion, appeared to be feeling unwell, needing attention after losing the second set.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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.

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz