Comment
0
Tweet
0
Print
RSS Feeds

Lisicki and Bartoli reach Wimbledon final

Thursday - 7/4/2013, 4:34pm  ET

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland plays a return to Sabine Lisicki of Germany during their Women's singles semifinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Thursday, July 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

CHRIS LEHOURITES
AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) -- Sabine Lisicki advanced to her first Wimbledon final a couple of hours after Marion Bartoli reached her second.

Lisicki, a 2011 semifinalist at the All England Club, beat fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 Thursday on Centre Court, overpowering her opponent at the start and then hanging on despite trailing 3-0 at the end.

"I go out there to win," said Lisicki, the first German to reach the Wimbledon final since Steffi Graf in 1999. "I fight for every single point and I still enjoy the game, so I think those are the main parts why I won today."

Bartoli took control early and never let up in a quick 6-1, 6-2 victory over Kirsten Flipkens. She also reached the Wimbledon final in 2007, losing to Venus Williams in straight sets.

Saturday's final will be the second at Wimbledon in the 45-year Open era between two women who have never won a Grand Slam title. Lisicki has a 3-1 record against Bartoli, including a quarterfinal win at Wimbledon in 2011 in their last meeting.

Lisicki, who beat defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round, dictated play in the first set by winning 22 of her 30 points on serve and breaking once. But her serve deserted her after that.

Once the second set started, Radwanska came alive and Lisicki crumpled.

Lisicki lost all four of her service games, with the lowlight coming in the final game of the second set. Leading 30-0, Lisicki lost four straight points, including two double-faults.

"She made some really good points. I made a few errors too many," Lisicki said. "But I regained my focus and game in the third set, and that's the main part."

In the third, Lisicki was again broken early but finally held to make it 3-1 and then broke to get back on serve. Both players held serve until Lisicki got the deciding break in the 15th game when Radwanska hit a volley long.

"It's just one break," Radwanska said. "She was serving very well. So the one break on one side was a lot, and on other hand was not really."

A few minutes earlier, Radwanska had been two points from victory. The two were at 30-30 and later at deuce in the 12th game with Radwanska leading 6-5.

"I had a lot of chances. Just two points from the match," Radwanska said. "Then she serve second serve like 100 miles per hour. Then, you know, it just turned the other way."

Lisicki said her big win over Serena Williams helped her Thursday.

"I thought, 'I've done it against Serena so you can do it today as well, just hang in there,'" Lisicki said. "It gave me so much confidence and I'm just so, so happy I was able to finish it."

Lisicki finished the match, but one of the two scoreboards on either side of the court didn't, going blank late in the third set.

Bartoli wasted little time in her match, dancing and grunting her way to victory over the 20th-seeded Belgian who was playing in her first major semifinal.

"I played great. I executed very well. I hit lobs, passing shots, winners, returns, everything worked out perfectly," said Bartoli, who won in 62 minutes. "When I fell on the grass after match point, it was just so emotional. I dreamed about that moment, about returning to the Wimbledon final."

Amelie Mauresmo, the 2006 Wimbledon champion who now coaches France's Fed Cup team, was in the stands for the early match and had plenty of praise for Bartoli.

"She just played a great match, definitely the best match of the tournament for her," Mauresmo said. "Marion put huge pressure on her right from the beginning, first of all returning very well, serving better, which she had to do today."

Bartoli was pumped from the start on Centre Court, mixing two-handed backhands and forehands with little hops between points, as she usually does.

In the first set, she faced only one break point, nearly putting Flipkens back on serve in the third game. But despite a double-fault and a backhand into the net to eventually get behind 30-40, Bartoli dug herself out of the hole and finished the game with the first of her five aces.

"I tried my slices. She didn't have any problem with that," Flipkens said. "I tried the drop shot. She got it. I played a passing, she came to the net. I tried a lob. I tried everything, actually."

   1 2  -  Next page  >>