Wimbledon: Sabine Lisicki upsets Marion Bartoli to advance to semifinals
Sabine Lisicki, a 21-year-old from Germany who needed a wild-card invitation to get into the Wimbledon draw, served nine big aces and recovered from losing three match points in the second set to upset ninth-seeded Marion Bartoli, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1 in a women’s Wimbledon quarterfinal match Tuesday that lasted 2 hours, 21 minutes.
Lisicki had missed much of the 2010 season with an ankle injury and saw her ranking plummet to near 200 in the world.
“I cannot believe it yet,” she said after a weary Bartoli, who had played three hours more of tennis overall than Lisicki to reach the fourth round, was unable to muster any more responses in the final set.
Lisicki, who had to be taken off the French Open court on a stretcher when she suffered cramps, was clutching at her calves late in the third set, but her big serving (one registered 124 mph) and her constant pressure on the 26-year-old Bartoli finally paid off.
“I was very disappointed with myself how I played at 5-4 [in the second set] where I missed easily,” Lisicki said. “I wasn’t really deciding to take things and just go for it. I felt that I was the better player today and I knew I just had to fight and focus in the third set and win it.”
But Bartoli, who lost the 2007 Wimbledon final to Venus Williams, was breathing heavily after each point in the third set, and Lisicki won the first three games in under five minutes, including holding serve at love in the third game to take the 3-0 lead.
When Lisicki had another chance to win the match, serving for it in the seventh game, she shouted, in English, “Come on,” after hitting a cross-court winner to take the first point, and when she had a chance at her fourth match point, Lisicki served cleverly into the corner. Bartoli finally dumped a forehand into the net and Lisicki yelped, then hugged her French opponent.
Thunderstorms were making noise outside of Centre Court, delaying the start of the Court 1 women’s quarterfinals.
Eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova and Tsvetana Pironkova, who upset Venus Williams on Monday, were being held up, as were Tamira Paszek and fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka.
Fifth-seeded and 2004 champion Maria Sharapova and Dominika Cibulkova, who upset top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki on Monday, began playing under the Centre Court roof as soon as Lisicki finished her win.
-- Diane Pucin in Wimbledon, England
Photo: Sabine Lisicki celebrates her victory over Marion Bartoli on Tuesday. Credit: Kerim Okten / EPA