Kvitova sinks Pironkova
London - Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova secured a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals for the second successive year with a 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 win over Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova on Tuesday.
Kvitova, who could become the first left-hander to win the women's title since Martina Navratilova in 1990, had dropped just 15 games in her first four matches and spent an average of just 56 minutes on court.
Pironkova, a semi-finalist last year, pushed Kvitova much harder than that but the 32nd seed still ended up suffering the same fate as her previous four opponents.
The 21-year-old will play fourth seed Victoria Azarenka or unseeded Austrian Tamira Paszek for a final berth.
"I am so happy to be in the semi-final. I made some mistakes in the second set and was a bit down mentally," said Kvitova.
"It's great to be back in the semi-final and now I have more experience of the Centre Court."
Jana Novotna was the last Czech woman to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish awarded to the women's champion back in 1998.
But before Kvitova can start to dream of a first Grand Slam final appearance, she has to go one better than last year when she was beaten in the last four by Serena Williams.
After a rain delay of over three and a half hours, the players were finally able to get underway on Court One and it was Kvitova, unloading powerful groundstrokes at will, who seized the initiative with two quick breaks for a 4-1 lead.
There was a glimmer of hope for Pironkova when she got one break back, only for Kvitova to snuff it out as she took the first set with yet another break.
Pironkova, 23, responded by finally showing glimpses of the form that stunned five-time champion Venus Williams in the fourth round on Monday.
It helped that Kvitova seemed to lose concentration and a couple of careless strokes from the Czech presented Pironkova with a break early in the second set.
Kvitova hit straight back with a break of her own but Pironkova kept her composure and recovered from 4-2 down in the tie-break to take the set.
To her credit, Kvitova regrouped impressively and broke in the first game of the final set thanks to a Pironkova double-fault.
That was enough to finally shatter Pironkova's resistence and Kvitova secured one more break before closing out the win in just over two hours.