Unseeded Lisicki Upsets Bartoli to Reach Semifinals

A somber Marion Bartoli of France, a former finalist seeded ninth, lost to Sabine Lisicki of Germany, an unseeded wild-card entrant, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, in the Wimbledon quarterfinals Tuesday at the All England Club.

Lisicki, recovering from injury and ranked 62nd in the world, broke into a wide grin when Bartoli’s finSabine Lisickial forehand found the net. She is the first German to reach the women’s semifinals since Steffi Graf in 1999.

“I have absolutely nothing to lose and I’m just going to fight,” she told a courtside interviewer who pointed out that she was two victories from the championship.

Played under a Centre Court roof that shielded the players from a heavy London thunderstorm, it was an oddly jittery encounter, punctuated by Bartoli’s eccentric jumping antics as she awaited Lisicki’s serve.

After a vigorous extended rally, Lisicki clipped a backhand down the line and out of Bartoli’s reach to clinch the first set in 43 minutes, hitting 18 winners and 4 aces.

Lisicki began over-hitting shots in the fourth game of the second set, sending a backhand long to hand Bartoli a break point, and a forehand into the net to lose her serve and trail, 1-3.

At moments, it was a duel of angled drop shots. Lisicki got the best of them, discovering that Bartoli’s two-handed forehand made it awkward for her to reach forward for low shots.

Lisicki held a remarkable 6-1 lead in successful drop shots by the fifth game of the set. Bartoli scored with one of her own and took away another of Lisicki’s by racing to net and lofting a low forehand up the line over Lisicki’s outstretched racket.

Bartoli and Lisicki traded service breaks early in the second set. In the ninth game, Lisicki rifled a backhand service return down the line to claim the first point, then sent a forehand into the net. Then she hit an inside-out forehand winner and a crosscourt forehand winner to go up 40-15.

It was Bartoli’s biggest challenge and she met it first with an ace. But she jammed a forehand long to lose the game and put Lisicki in place to win the match on her serve.

Then Lisicki’s nerves kicked in. She bungled an easy high forehand at the net but recovered on the next point by jamming a forehand down the line and then hit an ace, her sixth, and another winner to set up match point. After trading winners, Lisicki crafted a low overhead that Bartoli couldn’t reach.

But Lisicki’s failed drop shot on another match point suggested she had gone once too often to that well. Bartoli soon offered her another match point and Lisicki couldn’t convert it, sending a forehand wide.

Lisicki ultimately lost her serve by double-faulting and it appeared that her game was about to fall apart. Bartoli moved to the line to serve and began running Lisicki side to side. Lisicki’s reserve was shattered and she lost the 11th game with a pair of erratic forehands.

But she wouldn’t yield, winning her serve to pull even at 6-6. Then she resumed an erratic style of hitting sound shots followed by forehand errors. Bartoli piled up a 5-3 lead when Lisicki rushed a backhand into the net.

Then Bartoli faltered, yielding two points on her serve, the two points that would have given her the set. She got to set point when Lisicki drove a backhand long. She took the set when, of all shots, Lisicki couldn’t handle Bartoli’s drop shot.

As they began the final set, Lisicki had hit a remarkable 42 winners to Bartoli’s 10, an unusually wide margin for a match that was virtually dead even.

Soon the difference began to appear in the score. Bartoli double-faulted to drop her serve in the second game of the set.

Lisicki’s moment was coming. She held serve to lead, 3-0, and raced to her chair for the changeover. Bartoli looked dejected and leaned forward to rub her upper left thigh.

With Bartoli serving in the key fourth game of the final set, which ran more than 10 minutes, both players repeatedly fumbled chances to win before Lisicki lost it by driving a backhand wide. Lisicki stepped to the line and lengthened her lead to 4-1 by hitting two forehand winners and drawing two Bartoli backhand errors.

By now, Lisicki had hit 49 winners to Bartoli’s 11, a gap that was widening every game. In the sixth game, Bartoli slammed an easy overhead long to face three break points, which Lisicki converted on another backhand error by Bartoli.

Posted by: John Martin


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