The Ladies’ Singles Championship is set and 2007 runner-up Marion Bartoli faces the Serena Williams slayer and perennial Wimbledon phenomenon Sabine Lisicki for a slice of tennis history.
Neither player has won a Grand Slam title and both have a chance to take the sport’s biggest prize: The Venus Rosewater Dish.
But how do the players match-up versus one another and who has the greatest shot at winning?
Lisicki and Bartoli have met a total of four times in their careers, including two at Wimbledon, in 2008 and 2011. While Bartoli claimed the first match in straight sets, their most recent meeting was a three-set fight in which Lisicki edged out the win 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1.
The confidence of beating Bartoli on grass en route to a semi-final run and also two more times in Charleston in 2009 and 2011 (both in straight sets) will help the German come Saturday.
Keys to success
Sabine Lisicki will need to serve well and big against Bartoli, who’s a self-proclaimed huge returner. And striking with two hands on both sides, that’s certainly the case.
In her previous matches at the All England Club, Lisicki, or “Boom Boom” as she’s called has tended to make strings of unforced errors that saw her go down 3-0 in the final sets versus Serena and Agnieszka Radwanska. She’ll need to keep the streaky play in tap against Bartoli, who will use it to further fuel her zealousness on court.
Bartoli, meanwhile, will need to make sure she’s dictating play as much as possible and not let her movement or lesser reach get the better of her. If exposed by Lisicki’s deft drop shots, for example, the match may not prove to be as competitive an affair as their 2011 meeting.
Moreover, Bartoli should ensure that her double fault count isn’t too high. Yes, she goes for her serve both on the first and second attempt, but it may come back to haunt her if she’s giving away too many free points against the passionate Lisicki.
Although Bartoli has made the 2007 final where she lost to Venus Williams, it’s Lisicki with the better performances at Wimbledon overall.
Where she’s reached the quarter-finals or better four times in her relatively young career, Bartoli has achieved the same feat only three times, while having played 11 Championships to her opponent’s five.
But Bartoli is the seasoned veteran with seven career WTA titles to Lisicki’s three, which could prove a vital factor when it counts and when the nerves set in on Day 12 at the All England Club.
Sabine Lisicki has gone through a series of very tough tests to get to this point: Francesca Schiavone, Samantha Stosur, Serena Williams, and Radwanska, while Bartoli’s draw has been a little more open.
Lisicki’s played three matches that have gone to the limit, including her 9-7 in the third win against Radwanska. Meanwhile, Bartoli has yet to lose a set throughout her Fortnight.
Bartoli will know the feeling of playing in a Grand Slam final, although it’s been a while. She also has a coach, Amelie Mauresmo, who won the title in 2006. She’ll be poised and ready, while Lisicki may need to contend with nerves.
But the German isn’t without support. She’s received a text message from Steffi Graff, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, and spoke with Boris Becker, a three-time winner.
Without the added pressure of being seeded higher, however, Lisicki can hit freely. Plus, as we’ve seen throughout the Fortnight, even when she looks down and out means nothing. Each time, the German has found a way to overcome adversity and sport a smile at the end of the match.
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