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Ladies' semi-finals day: The long and short of it

by Nicholas McCarvel
Thursday 4 July 2013

One went fast and one took a while - a long while. The ladies' semi-finals were polar opposites on Thursday, with Marion Bartoli racing through hers and Sabine Lisicki withstanding an epic encounter with Agnieszka Radwanska later in the day. While the ladies' final is set, so too is the men's doubles, where the top seeds survived a dicey affair against a spirited duo. Read more on Day 10...

Match of the Day [23] Sabine Lisicki def. [4] Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7
Sabine Lisicki does it again. The grass-loving German came back from a 0-3 third-set deficit - just as she had against Serena Williams in the fourth round - to beat the higher-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in a gripping semi-final. Lisicki had lost her way in the second set and early in the third, losing nine of 11 games and finding herself backed into a corner once again. But she served spectacularly and played well off the ground, striking 60 winners in the match that turned out to be the longest (in terms of number of games) women's battle of the tournament. "I just fought with all my heart," said Lisicki, who has confessed a certain love for the grass courts at the All England Club.

Honorary Match of the Day: [15] Marion Bartoli def. [20] Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2
On this day, there was no stopping Marion Bartoli. The 2007 Wimbledon finalist came out firing and never looked back against the unheralded Kirsten Flipkens, playing in her first Grand Slam semi-final. But it was all about Bartoli, who from the start was at her aggressive, hard-hitting best. The Frenchwoman blasted 23 winners in the match, going 11 for 11 at the net and allowing an overwhelmed Flipkens just 28 points in total. Bartoli said after the match she caught a quick nap from noon to 12:30 before going on court at 1pm. Doesn't hurt to be well-rested now, does it?

(Avoided) Upset of the Day: [1] Bob and Mike Bryan def. [14] Rohan Bopanna/Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3
How many pieces of history can Bob and Mike Bryan touch with a win at Wimbledon this year? A lot, it turns out. The top-ranked duo from the U.S. moved a step closer to winning The Championships on Thursday with a gutsy performance over fellow doubles experts Rohan Bopanna/Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The Bryans are aiming to be the first team in the Open Era to win three Slams in the same calendar year. They're also looking for their fifth big trophy in a row, having won the 2012 London Olympics, the U.S. Open, the Australian Open and the French Open leading into this Wimbledon. While plenty of accolades could be showered on the Americans, they got to the final the hard way, winning in five sets, moving their record in matches that went five sets to just 1-2 in 2013 following two heart-breaking Davis Cup losses.

They'll face Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, the No.12 seeds who beat Radek Stepanek and Leander Paes in the semi-finals.

Quote of the Day Marion Bartoli on her dedication to tennis:
"I truly believe in hard work and determination...Even if I was having some hard times outside of the court, I was still able to go on the practice court every day and practice hard no matter what was happening in my outside life, and remember myself every day I was a tennis player and what I wanted the most was to win matches. Somehow I felt like those kind of attitudes should be rewarded at some point...So I felt because I put that, I should have kind of a reward from it."

Stats of the Day
Lisicki becomes the first German in the final of Wimbledon - man or woman - in singles since Steffi Graf played there in 1999, losing to Lindsay Davenport.

With 60 winners in her semi-final match, Sabine Lisicki brought her Wimbledon total to 201, the highest in the ladies' singles competition. Li Na was second with 165 while Kaia Kanepi sat third, 162.

Tweet of the Day
Amazing stuff from the bryan brothers.. One match away from holding all 4 slams and the olympics! Would be first team ever to do that..

— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) July 4, 2013

'Did You See?' of the Day
In Marion Bartoli's player box wasn't her father and long-time coach Walter but instead France's most recent Grand Slam champion in singles, Amelie Mauresmo. Mauresmo, the French Fed Cup captain, began working with Bartoli on a consultancy basis around the US Open last year and was present for her big win on Thursday.

And for those of you that thought Centre Court looks especially magical on Thursday, you were right: Dame Maggie Smith - she of the Harry Potter films (OK, and many other works in her CV) was in the Royal Box. As was former world No.1 Tracy Austin, USTA president Jon Vegosen, veteran British pop star Sir Cliff Richard, 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez and WTA CEO Stacey Allaster.

Play of the Day: Mike Bryan throws his racket at the ball, gets it over the net AND wins the point...

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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.

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...

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