Spurred on by Steffi Graf, Sabine Lisicki reaches Wimbledon final; next faces Marion Bartoli

  • Article by: CHRIS LEHOURITES , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 5, 2013 - 2:20 AM

LONDON — Spurred on by Steffi Graf and inspired by an array of other sporting greats, Sabine Lisicki pulled herself out of a big hole and climbed right into the Wimbledon final.

The 23rd-seeded German, a Wimbledon semifinalist two years ago, overcame a 3-0 deficit in the third set to beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 Thursday and advance to her first Grand Slam final.

On Saturday, she will face Marion Bartoli, a 6-1, 6-2 winner over Kirsten Flipkens in the other semifinal.

"It's another challenge, and I'm looking forward to it," said Lisicki, who beat defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round.

The men's semifinals are set for Friday, with top-seeded Novak Djokovic playing Juan Martin del Potro and 2012 finalist Andy Murray up against the surprising 24th-seeded Jerzy Janowicz.

Saturday's final will be the second at Wimbledon in the 45-year Open era between two women who have never won a Grand Slam title. Although Bartoli has the edge in experience after reaching the 2007 final at the All England Club, Lisicki may have the bigger advantage with a 3-1 record against the Frenchwoman, including a quarterfinal win at Wimbledon in 2011 in their last meeting.

Lisicki started off Thursday playing aggressive tennis on Centre Court, and it yielded immediate results. She won 22 of her 30 points on serve and broke Radwanska once.

But soon after, Lisicki's serve deserted her, and so did her lead.

Lisicki lost all four of her service games in the second set, with the lowlight coming in the final game. Leading 30-0, Lisicki lost four straight points, including two double-faults.

"She made some really good points. I made a few errors too many," said Lisicki, the first German to reach the Wimbledon final since Graf in 1999. "But I regained my focus and game in the third set, and that's the main part."

Graf may have played a small role in the comeback. The seven-time Wimbledon champion sent Lisicki a text message before the match to wish her luck.

"She told me to go for it, and I'm just so happy," Lisicki said. "I was just fighting for every single point out there. Fought my heart out there."

Besides Graf, Lisicki also named a few others who have helped inspire her to come back from a serious left ankle injury in 2010, including ski great Hermann Maier and NFL quarterback Drew Brees.

"I read his book while I was injured," Lisicki said of Maier, an Austrian who won several Olympic and world championship medals. "Almost losing his leg and then to come back and be the world champion in his sport, I think was an unbelievable story.

"Also Drew Brees. ... He has torn everything there was in the shoulder, and he still came back and was one of the best."

Bartoli needed no such motivation, making quick work of Flipkens with her two-handed backhands and forehands mixing with little hops between points, as is her custom.

"I played great. I executed very well. I hit lobs, passing shots, winners, returns, everything worked out perfectly," said Bartoli, who won in 62 minutes. "When I fell on the grass after match point, it was just so emotional. I dreamed about that moment, about returning to the Wimbledon final."

The last time she made it this far, it didn't turn out so well. She lost to Venus Williams 6-4, 6-1.

But this time is different, or at least Bartoli believes it will be.

"God, I think I'm serving better," Bartoli said. "I mean, I do just everything a bit better than what I was doing six years ago. I think if I would play myself now, with my game six years ago compared with my game today, I would probably be beating myself quite easily because I'm just doing everything better."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How should Timberwolves fans greet Kevin Love on Saturday?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close