Serena saves Williams pride as Venus knocked out (Lead)

June 30th, 2010 - 12:09 am ICT by IANS  

Serena Williams London, June 29 (DPA) Holder Serena Williams salvaged family pride at Wimbledon Tuesday as the top seed advanced after her elder sister Venus was knocked out in the quarter-finals.
Serena dispatched China’s ninth seed Li Na 7-5, 6-3 a few hours after five-time winner Venus was trashed 2-6, 3-6 by Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, the outsider’s second victory in that series.

Serena said she took the win despite practising poorly. “I was nervous going in there, but I was able to hang in. I’m glad to be in the semi-finals again (seventh at Wimbledon). It’s not as good as the first time, but it never gets old.”

Williams will play Czech Petra Kvitova, who staged a comeback from 0-4 in the final set to reach the final four over Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 7-6 (10-8), 8-6.

Between them the Williams siblings have won eight of the last ten Wimbledon singles titles.

“I didn’t have a particular strategy against her,” said Pironkova, who knocked the American out in the Australian Open first round in 2006. “I just tried to play my game and move her as much as possible.

“It was quicker than I thought. Winning 6-2, 6-3, it was the biggest surprise for me. I expected like a longer match.

“It all seems like a dream,” said the 22-year-old winner, daughter of a tennis coach. “Coming here, I never thought I’d play to this level.

Williams said she had only herself to blame: “I didn’t get anyballs in. I had a lot of opportunities and a lot of short balls. I just seemed to hit each one out.

“Obviously she’s played well to get this far, but I don’t think I did anything right today.

“I think I missed all shots today: forehand, volley, backhand. If there was a shot to miss, I missed it.”

Pironkova will Thursday face Russian Vera Zvonareva, who duplicated the best showing of her Grand Slam career as she dumped Belgian Clijsters 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Zvonareva, an Australian open semi-finalist last year, won her first match against Clijsters in six attempts.

“I’m so excited about this match, it’s my dream to play this semi-final here,” said the number 21. “I’m excited about my game today.

“It’s amazing to finally beat Kim, we’ve always had some tough matches. I was able to hang in today and play some good tennis.”

Clijsters, seeded eighth, was stunned by her showing a day after putting out national rival Justine Henin.

“I’m disappointed, it’s too bad I wasn’t able to come up with my best at the important time of match. She was consistent. She didn’t give any easy mistakes and I gave her too many.

“Physically I feel fine,” said the victim of a spring foot injury which kept her off the clay. “I just didn’t produce on the important

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