Upsets Of 2013: Sabine Vs Serena
Published November 27, 2013 12:03
Having swept all before her during the clay court season, Williams arrived in south west London as the overwhelming favourite - a position strengthened further by the early exits of title rivals Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.
A few weeks earlier, Lisicki was asked if she could beat Williams. "If I play well, serve well, I think anything is possible," Lisicki answered. "You've got to believe in it."
And for the duration of their battle, this belief never once wavered.
After fending off three break points in her first two service games, Lisicki settled into a rhythm, producing winners to Williams' unforced errors, and breaking to lead 4-2. With the crowd stunned into silence, Lisicki forged onwards, breaking the defending champion once more to take the opening set in 44 minutes.
When she closed out the first game of the second set with a fantastic angled winner and her third second-serve ace, the signs were looking ominous for the American. Yet Williams responded to this onslaught with the poise and precision of a 16-time Grand Slam champion, reeling off the next nine games to wrestle back control.
Lisicki held to stop the rot before the match entered its dramatic final act. Trailing 4-3, the German faced three break points only to produce a series of rip-roaring winners before breaking in the following game.
The last game was an event in itself. Lisicki led 30-0, was dragged back to 30-all, had a match point but missed a forehand from a ferocious backhand return, then double-faulted to concede break point. She responded with an ace. At the end, an exceptional off forehand winner, she collapsed face first, exultant and elated.
"I just was fighting for every single point no matter what was happening out there," Lisicki said. "Serena's a very tough player. That's why she is No.1 in the world. I'm just so glad that I could pull off the win today."