Lisicki to face Bartoli in final

By on July 4, 2013

Marion Bartoli

France’s Marion Bartoli celebrates beating Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens in straight sets to advance to the women’s final tomorrow night. Source: KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH / AFP

Sabine Lisicki became the first German woman since 1999 to reach a grand slam final when she defeated Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 2-6 9-7 in a thrilling Wimbledon semi-final.

The 24th seed Lisicki will face France’s 15th-seeded Marion Bartoli, the 2007 runner-up, in the title match looking to become Germany’s first champion at a major since Steffi Graf beat Martina Hingis to claim the 1999 French Open.

Earlier, Bartoli stormed into her second Wimbledon final, the French 15th seed crushing Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 6-2 in their semi-final.

Bartoli was beaten by Venus Williams in her only previous grand slam final appearance at Wimbledon in 2007, but she finally has another chance to win a first major title after demolishing Flipkens in just 62 minutes on Centre Court.

“I just can’t believe it, I played so well today,” Bartoli said.

“It feels so great. Kirsten had an amazing run and played some unbelievable matches. She was a bit injured today and that must be hard in the semi-finals of Wimbledon.

“I gave her a hug because I wanted to show her respect.

Bartoli said she is playing better and better, having made the final without dropping a set.

“I saw the ball like a football. I was hitting it really cleanly, my footwork was sharp, my passing shots and lobs worked perfectly.”

Bartoli, tormented by injuries and illness in recent months, has enjoyed one of the best spells of her career over the last two weeks.

Flipkens looked drained by her three-set win over Petra Kvitova in the previous round and Bartoli made her pay, hitting 23 winners compared to just 10 from the Belgian 20th seed.

Bartoli, now coached by 2006 Wimbledon winner Amelie Mauresmo instead of her father Walter, used her piercing returns and accurate ground-strokes to overwhelm Flipkens, who was making her grand slam semi-final debut aged 27.

Flipkens, a former junior Wimbledon champion, had seen her ranking plummet to 262 after blood clots contracted during a flight from Thailand left her sidelined for several months last year.

She didn’t even qualify for Wimbledon 12 months ago.

Meanwhile, Lisicki finished with nine aces and 60 winners which compensated for the 46 unforced errors she sent down, a worthwhile price for her all-out assault in the two hour 18-minute clash.

“It’s unbelievable. The last few games were so exciting. We were both fighting and it was a real battle,” said Lisicki, who had made the semi-finals in 2011.

“Even when I was down 3-0 in the final set, I still believed that I could win, no matter what the score was.”

Radwanska defended her abrupt, cool handshake with Lisicki at the net.

“What should I do? Dance?,” she said, aware that with Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka out of the tournament, a golden opportunity for a maiden grand slam title had passed her by.

“I wasn’t quick enough. I had played a lot of tennis and if the semi-final was played in two days’ time it would be a different match.”


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