Wimbledon 2013: Kirsten Flipkens stunned to reach semi-finals after shock win over former champion Petra Kvitova

 

There is a new contender for the list of famous Belgians. To Eddy Mercx, Audrey Hepburn, Rene Magritte and, of course, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, may soon be added the bespectacled 27 year-old Kristen Flipkens, who will tomorrow play in a Wimbledon semi-final.

A year ago, she was, as they say, scarcely a household name in her own house. “I didn't even get into the qualifiers here and I was ranked 262,” she recalled in the immediate excitement of having beaten eighth seed Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. 

 Suffering from potentially career-ending blood clots in the calf, she missed two months of last season. She lost her funding from the Belgian tennis federation and ended up travelling to tournaments without a coach or physio. “I could count on one hand the people believing in me,” she said, before confirming that Clijsters, a good friend who tweeted support throughout the match, was one who did.

Had Kvitova not been physically below par, the task would admittedly have been tougher. The 2011 Wimbledon champion took the first set but required a medical time-out after losing the second, in which pills were administered for dizziness.

She was broken for 4-5 in the third and despite having saved two match points, must have known that a forlorn challenge after losing the third was doomed to fail. Pills or not, the bitterest one to swallow was the knowledge that with Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova all gone, a second final in three years seemed there for the taking.

“It was a big chance to be in the semi-final but I think it's a weird Grand Slam here,” she said. “I'm not sure if it was flu but I got some sort of virus. I felt pretty dizzy and tired and sleepy, so for sure that didn't help me. I don't do [any] excuse because of this. Kirsten played very well. She did not give me anything free.”

The winner, naturally enough, did not want Kvitova's illness to detract from her triumph, claiming:  “You still have to beat her, a former champion, so you know it's going to be a really tough match. She was the favourite rankings-wise but rankings don't say anything. There have been a lot of ups and downs throughout my career. I was world champion junior then the year after I had a really bad back injury and doctors said my career would normally be over. I'm the most surprising name in the last four but I don't care.”

Suggested Topics
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.

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore