No.15 seed and 2007 runner-up Marion Bartoli has done it again on the grass of the All England Club. Striking shots laced with ferocious pace with two hands off both sides, the Frenchwoman with her signature, quirky flair has captivated fans at the The Championsips for another Fortnight with a run to the ladies’ singles final.
She won 6-1, 6-2 against Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens as compatriot and coach, 2006 champion Amelie Mauresmo, looked on.
In the first set versus Flipkens, the 2003 Wimbledon girls’ singles champion, Bartoli appeared sharp from the start, while the Belgian contended with nerves.
With blistering, flat shots that crept just past the net, Bartoli forced a break after another penetrating groundstroke on the return forced an error from the all-court game of Flipkens. A backhand out secured the break and the 2-0 lead for Bartoli.
In the next game, the Frenchwoman looked even stronger, closing it out and racing for the 3-0 lead with an ace. Up 5-1, and shadow swinging after each point in flashes of intensity, Bartoli hit an ace, her second of the match, to secure the lead in just 27 minutes.
To prove her dominating play statistically, Bartoli successfully struck eight winners to just three from her No.20-ranked opponent in the opening set.
In the second, there was more of the same from the Frenchwoman, as she continued to connect on her shots and overcome her already flustered opponent. With a combination of forehand winners and passing shots, the 28-year old grabbed the early break.
Starting with an ace out wide on her own serve, for her third of the match, Bartoli held at love by striking two more passing shot winners and preying off more errors from her off-kilter opponent.
A smash winner and a forehand smacked directly at the net post would give Bartoli the 3-0 lead in the second set in similar fashion to the first, as Flipkens called for the trainer to examine her right knee.
But Flipkens appeared to be briefly heartened by the visit. She hit a forehand return winner to immediately go up 0-15 on Bartoli’s serve and would continue her more aggressive play. As Bartoli committed errors, including a whiff off a ball that landed squarely on the line, Flipkens broke for 1-3 down.
Bartoli, however, wasn’t fazed. Lofting two lobs and earning another point donated to her by a Flipkens double fault, the Frenchwoman broke straight back to go up 4-1.
On her serve, and with the end in sight, Bartoli hit a forehand smash winner and forced a forehand wide for 30-0. A two-fisted winner at net and another ace out wide made it 5-1.
In a surprising, loose showing from Bartoli, Flipkens won the next game at love and on a forehand smash of her own as the Frenchwoman hit consecutive errors and with increased aggression.
However, serving for the match and her second spot in a major final in seven years, Bartoli began with a volley winner for 15-0 and her 10th successful point at net. A passing shot winner secured 30-0, while an ace set up match point one.
A forehand smash on her second opportunity to clinch the match left Bartoli the champion in just over an hour, falling to the ground in happiness and looking toward the sky in joy moments later.
After the win, Bartoli told reporters that she has positive feelings about the tournament. "I just enjoy my time this year so much at Wimby obviously," she said. "[I'm] having a lot of fun outside the court as well and really carry[ing] on this great spirit with a smile."
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.
20:19It was the wackiest of Wimbledons with the most unlikely of headline-makers: Sergiy Stakhovsky, Steve Darcis, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Kimiko-Date Krumm, Jerzy Janowicz, Sabine Lisicki, Marion Bartoli...View all