Marion Bartoli crowned Wimbledon champion
Originally published on: 06/07/13 00:00
Bartoli became just the sixth player in the Open Era to win The Championships without dropping a set and she is the first Frenchwoman to triumph at SW19 since Amelie Mauresmo in 2006.
The victory comes in the 28-year-old’s 47th Grand Slam outing, which breaks Jana Novotna’s previous record of 45 major appearances before winning one of the sport’s four biggest events.
“This was my dream since I was six years old,” a composed Bartoli told Sue Barker after the win. “When I started this campaign back on court 14, I think if you told me I would be in the final I would not have believed you.”
On one of the hottest days of the tournament, Lisicki and Bartoli took to Centre Court looking for their first taste of major glory. Bartoli, who lost to Venus Williams at this stage in 2007, had beaten Lisicki once before at the All England Club in 2008 but it was the German who emerged victorious in three sets when the pair last met at Wimbledon in 2011.
Lisicki, who overcame both Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska on her run to the final, was the first to strike when she broke Bartoli in the opening game.
That was about as good as it got for the 23-year-old, however, as she hit 14 unforced errors to concede the next six games in a row and hand Bartoli the opening set.
The Frenchwoman showed no sign of nerves as she continued to put Lisicki under pressure, taking her returns on the rise and limiting her younger opponent’s time on the ball.
After fending off three break points in the second game of the second set, Bartoli broke in the third game to lead 2-1 and when she broke again to lead 4-1 the writing appeared on the wall for Lisicki, who let the emotions pour out.
Lisicki, who looked a shadow of the player that defeated Radwanska in one of the matches of the tournament on Friday, managed to win just 36 per cent of points behind her famed first serve and it wasn’t until defeat was staring her in the face that she managed to put up some sort of resistance.
After saving three match points at 1-5, Lisicki captured three games in a row to cut the deficit to 4-5, putting the onus on her opponent to serve for her place in history.
But Bartoli, who struggled to string more than two wins together all year, looked composed as she fired down a forehand winner, her 15th of the match, to set up three more championship points before winning it with an ace.
“I don’t know, for me finishing by an ace to win Wimbledon even in my wildest dreams I couldn’t believe that,” said an elated Bartoli. “I have been practising my serve for so long at least I saved it for the best moment.
“I dreamt about this moment for so long,” she added. “I know how [losing] it feels, Sabine, and I am sure you will be here one more time. I have no doubt about it.”
Lisicki choked back the tears as she addressed the crowd, who supported her throughout the two weeks. “I was just overwhelmed by the whole situation but credit to Marion she was in the situation before and she handled it,” she said. “I hope I’ll get the chance one more time as well.
“I still love this tournament a lot. Today you helped me try to get over my nerves.”