Wimbledon: Lisicki shows anything possible to set up Bartoli final

LONDON Fri Jul 5, 2013 1:33am IST

Sabine Lisicki of Germany celebrates after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in their women's semi-final tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 4, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Sabine Lisicki of Germany celebrates after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in their women's semi-final tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London July 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - No one would have guessed that Sabine Lisicki is allergic to grass as she joyfully rolled on the most famous rectangle of turf after surviving a heart-pumping, nerve-jangling epic to set up a mind-boggling Wimbledon final against Marion Bartoli.

A final that had odds of 1,500-1 at the start of the tournament became a reality on a hot and sticky Thursday afternoon as Lisicki, relying on a thunderbolt serve and sheer force of will, ended the brave resistance of Agnieszka Radwanska with a 6-4 2-6 9-7 win.

In pictures: Best of Wimbledon reut.rs/1256Ane

Bartoli's tactics were more unconventional as the French 15th seed enjoyed a 20-minute power nap shortly before her semi-final and woke up to inflict a 6-1 6-2 nightmare on Belgian outsider Kirsten Flipkens.

Fans who might have been feeling short-changed following Bartoli's 63-minute demolition job having forked out $150 for a ticket, certainly got their money's worth of drama and dazzling court craft as Lisicki showed the fight that helped her to jettison Serena Williams in the fourth round.

The German 23rd seed showed why she had an 18-4 win-loss record at the All England Club - but 16-15 at the other slams - as she clawed back from 3-0 down to win the longest third set in a women's semi-final here since Conchita Martinez squeezed past Lori McNeil 10-8 in 1994.

After outlasting last year's runner-up and fourth seed Radwanska in a two hour 18 minute sweat-fest, Lisicki could not stop beaming.

"It was unbelievable, the last few games were so exciting. Agnieszka played so well, it was a battle and I'm so happy to have won it," said Lisicki, whose smile has lit up a Wimbledon full of shocks and surprises.

"I was just fighting for every single point out there. I didn't know how it would end, I fought with all my heart but I believed I could win no matter what the score was."

Lisicki's calm and poised demeanour was in stark contrast to the strange on-court mannerisms of 2007 runner-up Bartoli.

Throughout the contest, the 28-year-old could not stand, or even sit, still for 10 seconds.

In between points she was a bundle of energy, practising air shots as she bounced around like a hyperactive toddler and she repeatedly kissed the bands on her right and left wrists.

The body language might have been unorthodox and some of her shots were equally eccentric but that did not stop her from seeing "the ball like a football" and she stands one match away from emulating countrywoman Amelie Mauresmo's 2006 success.

Flipkens, who suffered life-threatening blood clots 14 months ago and defied doctors orders to get her career back on track, admitted she had been powerless.

"I had to play 500 percent to beat Marion today," said the bespectacled Belgian.

"I tried my slices. She didn't have any problem with that. I tried the dropshot. She got it. I played a passing shot, she came to the net. I tried a lob. I tried everything. She was just too good," added Flipkens, who had to take an injury time out while trailing 3-0 in the second set to get her already-strapped right knee retaped.

Radwanska, the only top-four player to fulfil her seeding, emerged on to Centre Court with so much strapping above both knees it appeared as if her thighs had been mummified.

CRUEL NETCORD

That did not hamper her movement, though, until she came unstuck at 3-3 in the first set when she went down 0-40. After saving three break points, the Pole was thrown off balance by a cruel netcord and her reflex volley bounced long.

That allowed Lisicki to bag the set but with the temperature soaring, the German wilted under a barrage of winners and she lost nine of 10 games to fall 3-0 behind in the third set - an all-too-familiar scenario as she had also trailed Williams by the same score.

However, a woman who suffered a career-threatening ankle injury in 2010 knew that "anything is possible after learning how to walk again" and she started nibbling away at Radwanska's lead before drawing level at 3-3.

Told to 'go for it' in a text sent by Steffi Graf, the last German to win a major at Wimbledon in 1996, Lisicki followed the advice and at 5-4 she served for a place in the final.

A match of so many twists and turns still failed to reach its nail-biting conclusion as Lisicki's nerves got to her at break point down and she whipped a lob long.

However, the German onslaught continued at such a pace that the giant Centre Court scoreboard failed to keep up and went blank while an out-positioned Radwanska sent her racket flying after an astonishing Lisicki forehand winner.

The contest ebbed and flowed to 6-6 and 7-7 before Lisicki broke again for an 8-7 lead when her opponent fired a forehand volley long.

A player who thrived on grabbing second chances made no mistake this time round and a blazing forehand winner left her celebrating the biggest moment of her life - at least till Saturday.

"I've been dreaming about this since I'm a little girl. That's why I said it's the best place to play my first grand slam final. I couldn't imagine any better place," she gushed.

"I just can't wait to play Saturday." (Editing by Ed Osmond)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Kerry in India

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Deadly Landslide

Deadly Landslide

Landslide near Pune kills 10, scores feared trapped.  Full Article 

Fed Policy

Fed Policy

Fed presses forward with bond buying, cites uptick in inflation.  Full Article 

Big Infra Deal

Big Infra Deal

Piramal, Dutch APG tie up for $1 bln infra investment  Full Article 

E-Commerce

E-Commerce

Amazon says to invest $2 billion more in India   Full Article 

Lupin Results

Lupin Results

Q1 net profit up 56 percent on higher U.S. drug sales   Full Article 

Smuggling Gold

Smuggling Gold

Air India staff found smuggling gold  Full Article 

Economy Reboots

Economy Reboots

U.S. economy back on track with strong second-quarter rebound .  Full Article 

Auto Sector

Auto Sector

VW closes in on Toyota as global auto leader  Full Article 

Expanding Reach

Expanding Reach

Tata to invest $35 bln over 3 years, focus on new businesses   Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage