Wimbledon 2011: Maria Sharapova overpowers Dominika Cibulkova

Wimbledon Championships

Venue:
All England Club, London
Date:
20 June-3 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, Two, 3D, HD, Red Button, online (UK only), Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra; live text commentary from 0900 BST on BBC Sport website (#bbctennis); watch again on iPlayer

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Sharapova into semis in rush-hour style

Maria Sharapova swept Dominika Cibulkova aside to march into her first Wimbledon semi-final since 2006.

The 24-year-old Russian took exactly an hour to complete a 6-1 6-1 victory and set up a match with Sabine Lisicki.

Cibulkova, who beat top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round, could not live with the power or accuracy of the 2004 champion's groundstrokes.

Sharapova crashed down 23 winners to clinch a runaway win and show why she is favourite to regain the title.

The fifth seed, who is the only Grand Slam winner left in the tournament following the departure of the Williams sisters on Monday, lived up to that billing with a devastating display of power and panache under the Centre Court roof.

She attacked from the start, winning eight games in a row after Cibulkova had held serve in the opener, and produced some stunning shots from either flank.

Sharapova did make mistakes but showed her quality when it mattered, hitting two blistering backhands for her second break to go 4-1 up, and recovering from 40-0 down to break again and clinch the first set in 27 minutes.

Her Slovakian opponent had lost the opening set 6-1 in her victory over Wozniacki on Monday but, although she did break back to 1-2 at the start of the second, a repeat of that fightback rarely looked on the cards here.

Cibulkova, who stayed rooted to the baseline, only won 40% of points on her first serve and was broken six times in total as Sharapova completed the most comfortable of victories.

"It's a few years since I got past the fourth round here, so it is nice to be in the semi-finals with a great chance to take it further," Sharapova told the BBC afterwards.

"But I've got a tough match coming up. Sabine is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence and really great grass court tennis so it won't be easy." Sharapova thumped Lisicki 6-2 6-0 in their only previous meeting, in Miami earlier this year.

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Sharapova delighted with victory