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Continued: When it rains, it pours: Stephens can't hold serve after delay, loses to Bartoli at Wimbledon

  • Article by: HOWARD FENDRICH , AP Tennis Writer
  • Last update: July 2, 2013 - 10:10 PM

"Time flies," Radwanska said, "and suddenly we are here playing (the) semifinal of a Grand Slam."

Against Kanepi, 0-5 in major quarterfinals, Lisicki displayed the powerful serves, returns and groundstrokes that ended Williams' 34-match winning streak, and even mixed in a half-dozen drop-shot winners. Lisicki broke Kanepi at the outset and went through only a brief blip, double-faulting three times in a game to trail 2-1 in the second set. From there, Lisicki won five of six games to reach her second Wimbledon semifinal.

"I knew it's going to be tough after yesterday's match to just keep the level up," Lisicki said.

That's exactly what she did.

A touch of rain, less than a drizzle, started during the final points of Lisicki's victory. That cleared away by the time Stephens — whose late father, John, was the 1988 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for the New England Patriots — and Bartoli stepped on Court 1. That venue doesn't have a retractable roof, unlike Centre Court, where Radwanska-Li and Flipkens-Kvitova matches were played.

Stephens and Bartoli — whose many quirks include hopping in place, taking practice swings between points, and not bouncing the ball before hitting serves — traded big groundstrokes from the baseline, creating entertaining points. There hadn't been a service break entering that key 10th game, when Bartoli began talking to chair umpire John Blom about whether play should go on.

She scraped her shoes on the grass to indicate it was slippery. She pointed to her right hamstring, which had two thick, black, vertical strips of tape, as if to indicate an injury could occur. Last week, when there were a record-tying 13 withdrawals or mid-match retirements, some players wondered whether the footing is different this year.

During the discussion, Stephens waited near the baseline, left hand on hip. Within minutes, the precipitation increased, and the match was halted.

"Things like that happen, and you kind of just have to go with it," Stephens said. "It's definitely tough stopping and starting. I probably warmed up three times in the gym before we went back on the court."

When they came back, Stephens no longer could win a point on her serve. She lost 14 in a row in one stretch and was broken at love four of the last five times she served.

"I hit some excellent returns," Bartoli said.

The only reason Stephens kept things competitive was that she kept breaking Bartoli, too. There were eight straight breaks in all, until Stephens finally held for 5-5. Bartoli followed suit to lead 6-5, then broke again to end it.

This was only Stephens' ninth Grand Slam tournament, and her second quarterfinal (she beat Williams to reach the Australian Open semifinals in January). One day, Stephens might rue failing to capitalize on the sort of opportunity this upset-filled fortnight presented.

On Tuesday, she spoke about the importance of moving on.

"I know where I want to be, and I know where I want to get to in the end," Stephens said. "So I think it may not happen now, but as I work hard and I get older, I guess, it will hopefully eventually come."

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