Tennis-Safarova leads Czech assault at Wimbledon

LONDON, July 1 Tue Jul 1, 2014 5:05pm BST

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LONDON, July 1 (Reuters) - Lucie Safarova led the Czech charge into the Wimbledon semi-finals on Tuesday, beating Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3 6-1 to become the first woman through to the last four.

The 27-year-old's victory guaranteed a Czech woman would reach the final as she will meet the winner of the later quarter-final between former champion Petra Kvitova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in Thursday's semi-final.

"I played really well and wanted to get through this match and I am so happy," a beaming Safarova said.

It is the furthest the Monaco-based player has advanced in 37 grand slam appearances.

"I was serving well and being aggressive and taking her time away and that was the key to the victory," Safarova, seeded 23, said.

It is the first time since the start of the professional era in 1968 that three Czech women have advanced to the quarter-finals of a grand slam tournament. (Reporting By Clare Lovell; editing by Martyn Herman)

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