Bartoli through to second Wimbledon final
The 28 year old Frenchwoman was runner up to Venus Williams six years ago
Marion Bartoli of France reacts as she defeats Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in their women’s semi-final at the Wimbledon. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
Marion Bartoli reached her second Wimbledon final as the biggest day of Kirsten Flipkens’ career ended in a heavy defeat.
Belgian Flipkens was encouraged by a crowd that was willing for a contest to break out, but it was one-sided throughout and 15th seed Bartoli slumped to the turf on sealing her win as her achievement sank in.
Bartoli took just 27 minutes to forge ahead, the 28-year-old Frenchwoman settled well into the contest against a player untried at this level, and took the opening set 6-1, sealing it with an ace.
Flipkens had a blood clot problem last year that caused her to take two months out of the game, and she fell down the rankings to the point she was ineligible for Wimbledon qualifying.
Since then she has soared to 20th in the world, but the experience of Bartoli was telling, as the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up dominated in the early stages.
Bartoli began by holding serve when Flipkens volleyed nervily into the net. A brutal Bartoli backhand winner brought up two break points as Flipkens served for the first time, and a backhand landing a couple of feet over the baseline sealed the early advantage.
“Come on Flipper!” went the cries from the Belgian’s supporters as she struggled to settle. Bartoli saved a break point with a barrage of big backhands, and held for an early 3-0 lead.
The quarter-final win that Flipkens achieved against Petra Kvitova was history, with the 27-year-old needing to find focus for the biggest match of her life.
Warm applause greeted her first game on the board when she held serve, and there were more cheers to come after a forehand winner to force 15-30 in the next game.
But Bartoli kept her head to lead 4-1, and another break of serve followed by an easy hold made the set safe.
This was new ground for Flipkens, who has taken a decade to deliver on the talent she showed when landing the 2003 Wimbledon and US Open junior titles.
In this week last year she was winning a clay-court tournament in Middelburg, Holland. A glasses-wearer, Flipkens was attired in bug-like shades today, with a bright white headband and matching knee strapping accessorising her outfit.
She cut a distinctive figure, but the fairytale prospect of lifting the trophy on Saturday looked exactly that when Bartoli broke serve in the opening game of the second set, and held for a 2-0 lead.
Flipkens had been seen by the trainer between sets, seemingly due to a knee problem.
The crowd was willing her on, Wimbledon having been seduced by her tale of career resurrection. The clots in her calf could have killed Flipkens, she was told, had she boarded a flight to Japan for a Fed Cup match.
A stinging smash from the baseline by Bartoli brought up two more break points in the third game, and, when Flipkens rattled a forehand into a net post, the end of her championships was in sight.
The Wimbledon spectators did not know what to make of Bartoli. Her eccentricities are no secret, and she was repeatedly swishing at thin air, rather as though she was preparing for a sword fight.
Her game was holding up, though, with Flipkens staying on the defensive — a policy that had done her few favours.
A blip in the form of a break came when Bartoli appeared to let her focus drift, however it was instantly returned and victory was soon snared.