It has been a dramatic week for Belgian tennis with Steve Darcis from Liege knocking out French Open champion Rafa Nadal followed by Kirsten Flipkens’ dramatic yet emphatic defeat of last year’s Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
This puts the 27 year old friend of Kim Cleisters into the last four at the All England Club.
After 18 months of career-threatening injuries, Flipkens has been kept going through support from world number one Cleisters. It is also believed she was a key adviser in Flipens’ game strategy against the hard-hitting Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. It was the first semi-final place ever for the 27-year-old from Mol: “This is more than a dream come true,” Flipkens said.
Indeed Flipkens had no answer to Kvitova’s powerful ground strokes in the opening set and went down 6-4. The Belgian managed a break in set 2 and take it 6-3 to level the score. In a very tense and hard-fought final set, Flipkens broke Kvitova at 4-4, after a successful challenge on a deep Kvitova stroke that was called in. Flipkens was next serving for the match at 5-4 up. Despite the tension, the girl from Mol kept her cool and hit two aces, including one on match point, to seal it 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Kvitova had called for a doctor at the end of the second set. She was clearly sweating a lot under the closed roof and had her temperature taken. She gulped down a tablet and was able to continue the match, finding back her best tennis at the start of the third. “I got some virus last night. I was feeling tired and sleepy, but that’s no excuse, because Kirsten played very well. I fought, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough”, Kvitova (photo) told reporters.
In the next round Flipkens will meet France’s Marion Bartoli.