Safina battles past Lisicki
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:38
Lisicki had already knocked out fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki to reach the quarter-finals, and threatened another upset after taking the opening set on Centre Court.
But Safina, the world number one despite being without a grand slam title, hit back to win 6-7 (5/7) 6-4 6-1 in two hours and 28 minutes to seal a last-four clash with defending champion Venus Williams on Thursday.
Safina struggled desperately with her serve in the early stages, committing three double faults in the third game to fall a break behind and shanking another serve embarrassingly wide off the frame of her racket.
The Russian did at least break back when Lisicki served for the set at 5-3, but that was merely delaying the inevitable as the German took the set in the tie-break.
Lisicki started the second set superbly, winning her first three service games without dropping a single point and Safina was being made to work much harder to remain on level terms, but finally managed to put pressure on her opponent’s serve and quickly reaped her reward.
Lisicki saved one break point in the seventh game but then served a double fault on the next, repaying the favour following Safina’s crucial double fault in the first set tie-break.
Safina then had to save a break point in the 10th game and crucially had a double fault overturned with a successful challenge as she served out to take the set 6-4 and level the match.
In the final set Safina took a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner which landed on the baseline.
She was far from convincing however, serving three double faults in a row from 40-0 before holding serve to lead 5-1, but another break gave the scoreline a rather flattering look in favour of the top seed.