However, just like in her incredible win against Serena Williams on Monday, Lisicki managed to summon her best tennis from 0-3 down in the decider and get right back in the match. Lisicki failed to serve out the match at 5-4, but earnt her second chance at 8-7, having twice had to serve to stay in the match. This time round, she served it out with aplomb to complete a magical victory in 2 hours and 18 minutes. Lisicki finished with stats of 60 winners to 46 unforced errors (compared to Radwanska, who hit 21 winners to 10 unforced errors).
Bartoli completed her route into the final with a quick and efficient 6-1 6-2 victory against an injury affected, Kirsten Flipkens. It was so sad to see Flipkens obviously impaired by a knee injury and I think that explains all those advances into the net to try and finish the point quickly. Bartoli though was absolutely terrific; she hit her groundstrokes with an unnerving consistency and accuracy, and produced some marvellous lobs. Bartoli and Flipkens embraced at the net and it was a really sweet touch from Marion, who came across wonderfully in the BBC interview afterwards. Unfortunately, the second semi didn't finish with the same kind of embrace as Aga gave a cold handshake and stormed off the court. It was a tough match and a tough loss, so it's understandable although disappointing too.
In my semi-final post, I predicted a Lisicki-Bartoli final and its the defiintely the final (based on the last four) that I wanted to see. Lisicki leads the head-to-head by 3 wins to 1. The last time they played was at Wimbledon in 2011 in an absorbing quarter-final, which Lisicki won, 6-4 6-7(7) 6-1. Sabine recovered from a horrible choke when serving for the second set, but managed to close out the match against a physically exhausted Bartoli in a clean third set. I have really distinct memories from that match because I ended up listening to the end of the match on the radio after my first ever job interview.
There will be lots of different variables going into this final. Bartoli has been in the Wimbledon final before, but Lisicki will be experiencing it for the first time. Lisicki though, has shown incredible nerve to dig out of 0-3 third set deficits against two of the top four this week, Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska. Yes, she has had some horrible sets (the first set against Stosur in R3 and the second set against Radwanska in the SF), but she has managed to find her best tennis when it really mattered.
Sabine Lisicki and Marion Bartoli's route through the draw. Note - the number in the brackets refers to the player's world ranking.
Bartoli has yet to drop a set, but you could also put forward that she has yet to be tested this tournament. Lisicki has had a stinker of a draw though (see graphic above) which has included passing three Grand Slam champions, this year's Eastbourne champion, a former Wimbledon quarter-finalist and last year's Wimbledon finalist! Once again, I am so excited by this final. I think its great for the womens game to have players who have never won a Grand Slam before instead of having to watch Serena Williams destroy someone in the final. I think it will be a three setter, fitting of the occasion. The way that this crazy, crazy tournament has gone... I have to go for Sabine.
|Moo's Final Prediction - Lisicki d. Bartoli in 3 sets|
I think this has been such a refreshing Grand Slam and I think most dedicated tennis fans seem to appreciate the change up. I would really welcome your comments as to your feelings about this final and who YOU think is going to win it :-)