LONDON, June 30 (Agencies): Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova produced a blistering display to beat Victoria Azarenka and reach her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon.
The 21-year-old left-hander, who lost to Serena Williams in the semi-finals last year, reeled off the winners as she came through 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.
Belarusian Azarenka, seeded fourth, was making her Grand Slam semi-final debut but could not contain Kvitova.
The Czech will play Maria Sharapova or Sabine Lisicki in Saturday’s final.
Kvitova, who beat Azarenka in the third round at Wimbledon last year, is known for her shot-making ability and she made a blistering start on Centre Court, making 13 winners and breaking twice as the first set flew by in 27 minutes.
The power and depth of the Czech’s groundstrokes, and her ability to hit clean winners off both sides, left Azarenka reeling, but for all her her talent Kvitova remains inconsistent and her level dropped at the start of the second set.
After making only three unforced errors in the first, the mistakes began to creep in and Azarenka finally got a foothold in her opponent’s service games.
Azarenka, 21, won the first six points to take control of the second set and would not relinquish that lead, pummelling her way to the set with a succession of backhands in game nine.
In the other semifinal, Maria Sharapova recovered from a dreadful start to beat Sabine Lisicki and reach her first Wimbledon final since she won the title in 2004.
The fifth-seeded Russian will play Petra Kvitova on Saturday after winning 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 26 minutes. A rash of errors left Sharapova 0-3 down but she took nine of the next 10 games against the German wildcard.
Both players struggled on serve, with Sharapova hitting 13 double-faults, but some big groundstrokes saw her through.