Numbers seem to be stacking up nicely for Lisicki as she targets Wimbledon glory
Impressive German can complete a fairytale success with victory over Marion Bartoli in today’s women’s singles final
Germany’s Sabine Lisicki celebrates a point against Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska during their semi-final clash at Wimbledon. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA
Marion Bartoli’s charm offensive yesterday may be too late to replace Sabine Lisicki for the lion’s share of support as the German appears to have already been anointed by the Centre Court crowd.
The French energy package has endeared herself with her short bursts of practice swings between points, her sprinting around the court and her capacity to nap before matches.
But Lisicki has effectively communicated that she has been living the dream for two weeks and that has won her the hearts of many.
Her German nick name “Boom boom Bina” has also stuck, while the irony of one of the best grass court players in the world suffering from hay fever is seen as just perfect.
“Yeah, it suits my game,” she said of the nickname. As to being emotional and demonstrative on court, that’s just as much an aspect of her play as her forehand or serve.
“I enjoy myself out there. Why shouldn’t I show it? I’m an emotional person,” she added.
Bartoli is seen as an unlikely finalist, not only because her name was not among those seen as likely winners at the beginning of the tournament but because her game didn’t appear strong enough to last the two weeks. She had something to say on that.
“What can I say? I won six matches and didn’t have a retirement. I went on court and I won my matches. I didn’t lose a set so . . . ”
Lisicki, on grass particularly, was known to have a big game on serve and ground strokes because of her semi-final appearance two years ago. The doubts that prevented an embrace of her as a potential Wimbledon winner were because it was questionable that she could and consistently express her game over seven matches.
She is the first German woman to reach a Wimbledon final since Steffi Graf in 1999 but Lisicki, by beating Serena Williams this year and defeating Maria Sharapova at last years’ tournament in the round of 16, has some notable scalps even if she is the second-ranked German behind Angelique Kerber.
Remarkably Bartoli has made it this far without playing against a top-10 seed. Her highest-ranked opponent was 17th seed, America’s Sloan Stephens, who she beat in the quarter-final. The world ranking numbers that fell to her were 82, 70, 93, 104, Stephens and Kirsten Flipkens, who is ranked 20. Should Bartoli win it would be the first time in the Open era (1968) that the champion did not have to play any of the top 10 players in the competition.
Neither player has won a title this year with Bartoli hoping that her place in the 2007 final against Venus Williams will take some edge off the shock of Centre Court on final day.
“Having the experience of being out there already, especially on the same court, the same stage will all definitely help. It’s hard to say if it’s an advantage or not. I’m feeling less stress than I was for my final for sure. It will help me deal with my nerves . . . ”
When Williams beat her in the final six years ago, the American was seeded 23. Bartoli goes into this final facing Lisicki, who is seeded 23. Even the numbers seem to be on her side.