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The grass is good for Sabine Lisicki

by Benjamin Snyder
Saturday 29 June 2013

Grass court specialist and former Wimbledon semi-finalist Sabine Lisicki proved to be the stronger player on turf in her match against Samantha Stosur of Australia. The duo notably paired up to make a run to the semi-finals at the All England Club in 2011, but it was a battle between the two on day six of The Championships.

The German overcame a slow start and her former partner’s heavy serves with aces and booming forehands of her own to secure the three-set victory and a place in the fourth round of Wimbledon for the fourth time in her career.

Lisicki told reporters after the match how much she enjoyed playing. “I love playing at Wimbledon. It's my favorite tournament,” she said. “Centre Court here at Wimbledon is something so special to play on. I just enjoyed it.”

At first, however, it appeared that Lisicki wouldn’t put up much of a fight versus the 2011 US Open champion. Although she would punctuate the first point of the match with an ace, she was slow to find form from then onward. In just 28 minutes, Stosur raced to claim the first set through a combination of her signature topspin forehands and kicking serves that time and again left Lisicki unable to place the ball in play.

Starting the second set though, it seemed that a new Lisicki took to the court, one more prepared to handle Stosur’s pace. With another ace out wide, one of eight struck during the match, the German figured out the formula to cause the Australian to falter.

On Stosur’s serve at 2-1 up, Lisicki struck three forehand winners, including one on break point and down the line. Up 5-2, she would hit a 117mph ace out wide and looked primed to grab the second set from the world No.13.

But quite curiously, Lisicki momentarily halted play by calling a trainer to the court. It turned out to simply be for a cut on a finger, however, and she placed more pressure on the Stosur serve to win the set on break point number one.

After wrapping up her first service game of set three with four consecutive points, Lisicki continued to look the sharper of the two. She raced to a 3-0 lead before the Australian earned a game. But that, too, was gained by a battle on Stosur’s own serve. Down 0-40, Stosur started to find the court again, while Lisicki struck errors similar to that of her streaky first set.

Any lapse in focus for the German, however, wouldn’t last long. She held at love on her next service game to go up 4-1 and cruised to victory two games later as Stosur lofted another forehand wide on match point number one.

Looming ahead for the No.23 seed is world No.1 Serena Williams, the defending champion.

About that potential match, Lisicki said, “Well, you have to play your best to beat her, that's for sure.  But, you know, everybody's human being. “

She added, “You know, when I play, we'll see what happens.”

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20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.

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