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Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 16:41 UK

Wimbledon 2010: Serena Williams to face Petra Kvitova

Wimbledon Championships
Venue: All England Club, London Date: 21 June - 4 July
Live on BBC One and Two, HD, Red Button, BBC Sport website (UK only), Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra; live text commentary online and on mobile phones. Full details of BBC coverage

Serena Williams

Serena bags semi-final place

By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Serena Williams salvaged family pride at Wimbledon as she reached the semi-finals with a 7-5 6-3 win over Li Na.

The top seed saw her sister Venus crash out to Tsvetana Pironkova before she came out to face ninth seed Li.

Serena did not have things all her own way either but Li played a poor service game to drop the first set.

The world number one was broken for the first time at 5-2 in the second set but broke again to seal a semi-final against unseeded Czech Petra Kvitova.

Kvitova, who had never won a match at Wimbledon before this year, won a remarkable tussle on Court One against Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi.

The world number 62 saved five match points and came from 5-2 down in the deciding set to win 4-6 7-6 (10-8) 8-6 in two hours and 38 minutes.

But Serena is now the overwhelming favourite to take her fourth Wimbledon title, particularly after the demise of five-time champion Venus, who lost to Pironkova only shortly before her younger sister walked out on Centre Court for her quarter-final match.

Serena Williams 'hangs in' for win

"We're best friends, we live together, we do everything together," Serena told BBC Sport. "I saw her after the match and she gave me some good advice. It was a tough match for her."

It was perhaps not surprising then that Serena was in rather subdued mood against Li.

The first set was closely fought until Li double-faulted twice in a gift of a game at 5-5, allowing Serena to serve it out after 45 minutes.

The American pumped her fist in a rare show of emotion as she broke for a second time at 2-2 in the second set, and when Li double-faulted again to give Serena a 5-2 lead, the Chinese player's shoulders slumped.

The 28-year-old managed to recover one of the breaks, Serena paying the price for failing to put away a volley as Li rifled a pass into the open court, but she immediately dropped serve again as Serena triumphed in one hour and 20 minutes.

"I always serve well at Wimbledon but I've never served this well, so consistently," said Serena, who has hit 73 aces in the tournament, with Venus a distant second on 30.

"It isn't as a good as it was the first time, but it never gets old," added the American, the 12-time Grand Slam champion who is through to her seventh Wimbledon semi-final.

Serena will face a player making her debut in the last four of a major tournament, and she is by far the most experienced of the remaining players in the draw.

Emotional Kvitova in disbelief after win

Only Vera Zvonareva, who faces Pironkova in the other semi-final, has ever beaten Serena and that was four years ago.

"It's mine to win but there are three other people who have just as good a chance as I do," insisted Serena, adding that she was not surprised to see Kvitova reach the semi-finals.

Left-hander Kvitova teetered on the brink of defeat several times before coming through against a nervy opponent.

Kanepi double-faulted on one of her three match points in the second-set tie-break, and on another, Kvitova's second serve hit the net but landed in.

"Obviously I'm disappointed but in a few hours it will go away," said the 20-year-old Kanepi, who came through qualifying to reach the last eight.

"I think I could have handled the opportunities I had better. I think it's also a mental thing."

Kvitova, who beat Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki in her previous two matches, is bidding to become the first left-handed woman to win Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova in 1990.

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see also
Serena v Li Na as it happened
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Pironkova stuns Venus in quarters
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Zvonareva powers past Clijsters
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Live - Wimbledon 2010
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon 2010 - day eight photos
29 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Serena ends Sharapova challenge
28 Jun 10 |  Tennis

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