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Lisicki takes dream run into the semis

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Originally published on: 28/06/11 17:00

Sabine Lisicki became the first German to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon since Steffi Graf in 1999 after defeating Marion Bartoli under the roof on a rain-hit Tuesday at the All England Club.  

The 21-year-old squandered three match points in the second set but recovered her composure to wrap up a 4-6 7-6 6-1 victory in two hours and 21 minutes.  

The win marks a fairytale return for the Troisdorf-born right-hander, a wildcard into the tournament, having both missed out on Wimbledon last year and dropped out of the top 100 after suffering a serious ankle injury.  

“It was such a tough road back and it’s so great to be standing on Centre Court at Wimbledon,” said a gleeful Lisicki, who got off to a fine start against the 2007 Wimbledon finalist.  

She showed no mercy on Bartoli’s serve early on, blasting several brutish forehands into the corners to secure two early breaks and – though she handed one back after jumping nervously as a huge crack of thunder rumbled overhead – it proved enough to earn her the first set.

Lisicki soon found herself up another break in the second set, but when serving for the match at 5-4, she wasted the first of three match points with a limp attempted drop shot that merely nestled into the foot of the net.

Bartoli seized her chance, and the set, with a break back, before dominating the tiebreak, but just when she seemed to have momentum on her side, her body began to suffer from the efforts of ousting Serena Williams from the tournament the day before.

“My mind was trying extremely hard, but my body couldn’t do anything anymore,” said Bartoli of her third set performance. “I really tried my hardest. I have no regrets. But in the end my body just couldn’t do it anymore.”

With her opponent wilting, Lisicki gratefully raced through the final set to book a semi-final clash with Maria Sharapova, who refused to look beyond her next opponent despite trouncing Dominika Cibulkova 6-1 6-1 in an hour flat.

“I’ve got a tough opponent coming up,” said the 2004 champion, after her comprehensive victory. “This is a player that’s playing with a tremendous amount of confidence right now.”

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