Wimbledon Saturday: Dream Opportunity
Published July 05, 2013 12:01
LONDON, England - Sabine Lisicki was just nine years old when her compatriot Steffi Graf finished runner-up in the 1999 Wimbledon final. On Saturday afternoon, Lisicki will become the first German to appear in a Grand Slam final since then, when she takes on fellow surprise package Marion Bartoli.
 Marion Bartoli (FRA #15) vs.  Sabine Lisicki (GER #24)
Head-to-head: Lisicki leads 3-1
There is something about the well-manicured lawns of the All-England Club that brings out the best in Sabine Lisicki.
On her past three visits to south-west London before this year, the German has lasted well into the second week, beating a who's who of the women's game in the process. However, as impressive as wins over Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Caroline Wozniacki and Svetlana Kuznetsova were, Monday's dethroning of Centre Court queen Serena Williams ranks as her crowning glory.
Unlike many other great giant killers from down the years, she has followed up this memorable performance, outclassing and outlasting Kaia Kanepi and Agnieszka Radwanska, respectively, to reach her maiden major final.
Here she will face fellow surprise finalist Marion Bartoli. The Frenchwoman has been on inspired form this fortnight, improving with each passing round and winning all six matches in straight sets. The best was reserved for her semifinal foe, Kirsten Flipkens, who she dismissed in an hour-long grass court masterclass.
While Bartoli may have the edge in terms of experience - she finished runner-up at the All-England Club in 2007 - past encounters suggest defusing Lisicki's considerable arsenal will be no easy task; Lisicki has won their last three matches, including the 2011 Wimbledon quarterfinal, and, as evidenced by her numbers this tournament, she is serving (39 aces) and returning (28 breaks) better than ever.
Bartoli: "The last time I played the final here I was so young. I was the underdog every time coming out on the court, which this time it was totally the opposite. I was this time the highest ranked player and I needed to put out a great performance in order to go through. I think I've been able to deal with the pressure really well and keep improving throughout the Championships and keep playing better. Especially in the semifinals, I think I played a great match."
Lisicki: "I think it's still hard to really realize that I'm in the final! When I arrived here at the tournament, I just thought that anything's possible. That's what I believed; I still do. I came to win every match that I walk on the court on, and that's what I've done so far. So I'll do the same on Saturday and I'm looking forward to it."
Road To The Final
First Round: d. Elina Svitolina, 63 75 (1:23)
Second Round: d. Christina McHale, 75 64 (1:56)
Third Round: d. Camila Giorgi, 64 75 (1:31)
Fourth Round: d. Karin Knapp, 62 63 (1:12)
Quarterfinals: d. Sloane Stephens, 64 75 (1:41)
Semifinals: d. Kirsten Flipkens, 61 62 (1:02)
First Round: d. Francesca Schiavone, 61 62 (1:04)
Second Round: d. Elena Vesnina, 63 61 (1:01)
Third Round: d. Samantha Stosur, 46 62 61 (1:40)
Fourth Round: d. Serena Williams, 62 16 64 (2:04)
Quarterfinals: d. Kaia Kanepi, 63 63 (1:05)
Semifinals: d. Agnieszka Radwanska, 64 26 97 (2:18)
For more on the final, see our Match Notes in the Press Center.