Lisicki Coming Alive, World No.1 Up Next
Published June 29, 2012 12:00
LONDON, England - "As long as you play at Wimbledon, there is no better place." Sabine Lisicki said that after her first round victory over Petra Martic, a victory that snapped a five-match losing streak. And on Friday the German continued her revival at her favorite tournament, battling past Sloane Stephens in three sets to move into the fourth round of the grass court Grand Slam.
After missing the early part of the clay court season due to an ankle injury, Lisicki lost her opening match at four straight tournaments, coming into Wimbledon looking for confidence - and she seems to have found it, beating Martic, Bojana Jovanovski and now Stephens to reach the second week here for the third time - she was a quarterfinalist in 2009 and a semifinalist in 2011.
Lisicki's 76(5) 16 62 win over Stephens wasn't easy by any means though - in fact she nearly lost the first set, rallying from 5-2 down in the tie-break.
"The match is never over until the last point is finished - it doesn't matter if it's first set tie-break or last set," Lisicki said. "I made some easy mistakes to go down 2-5. I had chances. The conditions were difficult - it was very windy, but I adjusted well. I just calmed down and went for my shots and made them."
"I faced her many times in the juniors and she used to be a nightmare for me because she used to slice and drop shot on clay," Sharapova said of the 26-year-old Hsieh. "I was like, 'Where did she learn how to play tennis like that? Uses both hands, switches racquets.' We had real battles in the juniors.
"I hadn't played her since then, but I knew her game really well. I don't think she had time to do all of that today on grass. If I'm hitting a hard shot, I don't think she has time to create, which is something she really likes to do. That's her game, hitting a lot of drop shots and slices and getting people kind of crazy."
A curious stat is that Sharapova is now 7-0 in her career in third round matches at Wimbledon, not losing a set in any of those matches either.
Hsieh fell to 0-3 against Top 10 players, never winning a set in those matches.
Sharapova has beaten Lisicki in all three of their previous meetings, including a straight set win in the semifinals here at Wimbledon a year ago.
"Maria is a great competitor and fights for every point. She obviously has a lot of confidence, coming off the French Open now," Lisicki said. "She hits it flat and hard and she's a champion, winning so many Grand Slams. It's nice to play her again - I like challenges and I'm looking forward to the big match again.
"I love playing those big matches - I'm looking forward to it, really."