Petra Kvitova will meet Maria Sharapova in the 2011 Wimbledon final after they beat Victoria Azarenka and Sabine Lisicki respectively.
Kvitova shone in her 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 victory over the fourth seeded Belarusian who lost her first ever Grand Slam semi-final having had a her run ended in the quarters on several occasions previously.
The Czech eighth seed will now play her first Grand Slam final as she becomes only the fourth Czech woman to grace the Championship match here after Martina Navratilova, Hana Mandlikova and Jana Novotna.
Kvitova started blisteringly as her powerful play and high winner count helped her wrap up the first set in just 27 minutes.
Yet her one main weakness remains her inconsistency and at the start of the second set her level dropped to allow the inevitably loud Azarenka back in to the match.
21-year-old ‘Vika’ won the first six points of the second set to firmly take control and she pummelled away at Kvitova, also 21, with a succession of backhands before she finally conceded the set.
But Kvitova then switched herself back on and held service to love in the opening game of the third set that sent out a message of intent to her opponent. She then broke Azarenka as the semi-final debutant began to buckle under another succession of big hits and when she moved 3-0 ahead in the decider all looked lost for the world No.5.
After making it to match point Kvitova again began to wobble but a kindly double fault from Azarenka saw her over the line under the delighted gaze of Navratilova herself. It was a welcome relief for the girl who lost at this stage to Serena Williams last year.
“I can’t say anything, I’m so happy,” Kvitova told BBC Sport after the match. “I started very well, and it was all about the serves in both sets, so I’m very happy with mine in the third. I’m not thinking about the final too much yet.”
Sharapova and Lisicki stepped out on to Centre Court next as the crowd geared up to see the 2004 Champion take on another Grand Slam semi-final debutant.
The 6-4, 6-3 scoreline may have looked remarkably comfortable but the start of the match was far from so for the 24-year-old Russian.
A dreadful, error-strewn beginning left the fifth seed 0-3 in the first set, but she would have been delighted to see 21-year-old Lisicki, the surprise package of SW19 this year, crumble as Sharapova took nine out of the next ten games to leave the German reeling.
Once Sharapova had finally held her serve she settled and began to attack the service of Lisicki, which has been such a potent weapon for the world No.62 over the past week and a half.
Whilst Sharapova was pretty erratic by her own usual standards, she made 18 unforced errors during the match, a double-break at the beginning of the second left Lisicki with little hope of ever turning this one around.
“It’s amazing to be back in the final, it’s been a while,” she said of the seven-year gap since her last final appearance here. “I’m really happy, even through I didn’t play my best tennis today. She played really well in the first few games and I did quite the opposite – but I remained really focused.
“I haven’t gone past the fourth round here for a few years, but I still feel I have more to do. Kvitova is a great player on grass and is playing really good tennis – it’ll be a tough match, but I’m looking forward to it.”