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Cliff sees Bartoli through to final

Sir Cliff Richard took a seat in the Royal Box at Wimbledon to watch French player Marion Bartoli claim her place in the final.

The singer, who famously entertained fans at the All England Club when rain stopped play in 1996, had to content himself with a place in the crowd earlier this week.

But he observed the action from one of the prized seats on SW19's most famous lawn.

Bartoli received an enthusiastic cheer as she overcame Belgian player Kirsten Flipkens but noise levels on Centre Court were considerably lower than they were when Andy Murray was greeted with a roar of support as he returned from the brink of defeat to seal a thrilling victory against Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

Bartoli, a fan of James Bond star Pierce Brosnan, collapsed on Centre Court as she won her place in the final, before stepping up to embrace her opponent.

"I just really can't believe it right now," the 28-year-old told the BBC. I played so well today and I feel so great and obviously Kirsten had an amazing run in here and I just wanted to congratulate her."

The bout on Centre Court was followed by a clash between Pole Agnieszka Radwanska and Germany's Sabine Lisicki, who was responsible for Serena Williams' shock exit from the Grand Slam tournament earlier this week.

Bartoli's win came as Murray took a well-earned break from the pressures of Centre Court to prepare for his semi-final clash. The 26-year-old will face Jerzy Janowicz, 22 - the first Polish man to reach a Wimbledon semi-final.

Former marathon runner Paula Radcliffe and Britain's former skeleton racer Amy Williams were among the famous faces who packed into the Royal Box to watch the action, which saw Lisicki, the 23rd seed, sail into the final. A broad smile spread across her face as she collapsed on the ground following her victory.

"Wimbledon is my favourite tournament," she told the BBC after the match. "I love it so much and I love being in England. It is just my favourite tournament and I can't believe I'm in the final."

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