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Marion Bartoli: path to the final

Marion Bartoli with a backhand stroke.
by Dan Imhoff
Saturday 6 July 2013

Amid the carnage of seeds to have crashed and burned in an upset-strewn women’s draw, a pair of unlikely finalists will square off for a maiden Grand Slam title on Saturday.

Should the unorthodox French 15th seed Marion Bartoli go one step further than her previous best runner-up showing at Wimbledon in 2007, she will hold the Venus Rosewater Dish having not played an opponent ranked in the top 15.

First Round – [15] Marion Bartoli d. Elina Svitolina 6-3, 7-5.

Bartoli’s experience showed against bright Ukrainian prospect Elina Svitolina, a former Junior French Open champion, in the first round. The 18-year-old pushed Bartoli in the second set, the 15th seed hit 30 winners on her way past the first hurdle.

Second Round – [15] Marion Bartoli d. Christina McHale 7-5, 6-4.

On an upset-riddled first Wednesday of the Championships, the Frenchwoman was one of the few to emerge unscathed. It was not without a fight though, as the 21-year-old American finished with more winners – 31 to 22 – but could not convert on the points that mattered, converting only three of 12 break points.

Third Round – [15] Marion Bartoli d. Camila Giorgi 6-4, 7-5.

Italian 21-year-old Camila Giorgi had ousted Romanian 22nd seed Sorana Cirstea in the second round and had claimed the only prior meeting against Bartoli in Strasbourg earlier this year. In the toughest of her three opening rounds, Bartoli broke her 93rd-ranked opponent for the match and a meeting with another unseeded Italian.

Fourth Round – [15] Marion Bartoli d. Karin Knapp  6-2, 6-3.

The 104th ranked Knapp had never before made it past the first round at Wimbledon, with the 26-year-old having played in only 12 previous Grand Slam main draws. Against Bartoli, she presented few troubles, the Frenchwoman enjoying her most routine match of the Championships to reach the quarter-finals without having played a player ranked in the top 80.

Quarter-final – [15] Marion Bartoli d. [17] Sloane Stephens 6-4, 7-5.

In Bartoli’s first real test of the Championships she was up against American Sloane Stephens, the player who had stunned Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter-finals back in January. With Williams’s Wimbledon campaign cut short in the fourth round she had suggested Stephens could well go all the way to claiming her title. It proved enough to jinx the 20-year-old. In a tight second set, which consisted of nine breaks of serve in 12 games, it was Bartoli whose withstood the pressure better to reach the semi-finals without the loss of a set.

Semi-final – [15] Marion Bartoli d. [20] Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2.

Taking on the resurgent Belgian Kirsten Flipkens – who at 27 had finally made good on a promising junior career to crack the top 20 – Bartoli turned on her most impressive form of 2013. With her usual racket swooshing between points, fist pumping and manic sprinting on the spot all part and parcel of Bartoli’s match routine, she swept aside Flipkens in little over an hour to book her second Grand Slam final and the chance to go one better than she did at SW19 six years ago.

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