Bartoli, Lisicki head into Wimbledon's women's final

July 5, 2013 at 8:19 AM
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LONDON, July 5 (UPI) -- Marion Bartoli returns to a Grand Slam final for the first time in six years as she takes on Sabine Lisicki for the Wimbledon women's singles title.

The women's singles section of the 127 Wimbledon Championships is to wrap up Saturday with Bartoli going against Lisicki for the fifth time in their careers. Liciski holds a 3-1 series advantage, including a 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 6-1 decision in the 2011 Wimbledon quarterfinals in their most recent meeting.

It is an unlikely pairing for the final.

Serena Williams, the world No. 1, was an overwhelming favorite in the tournament and fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska was playing well but Lisicki, who also defeated 14th-seeded Samantha Storsur, ousted both of them.

The top seeds on Bartoli's half of the draw fell away early, with No. 2 Victoria Azarenka unable to play her second-round match due to injury and third-seed Maria Sharapova losing in the second round. No. 5-seeded Sara Errani and ninth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki were first-round upset victims and No. 8 Petra Kvitova was beaten in the quarterfinals.

As a result, with a No. 15 seeding, Bartoli was always the highest ranked player in her match in advancing to her second career major tournament final. She lost to Venus Williams in the 2007 title match at Wimbledon.

"The last time I was so young, in a way, and every match I was coming on the court as the underdog. This time it was totally the opposite. This time I was the highest-ranked player every match and I needed to put on a great performance in order to go through ... ," Bartoli said after her semifinal Thursday.

"And also I think I'm doing everything better now than I was back then. I'm able to hit the ball harder. I'm moving faster.

"Today, I think if I played myself from six years ago, I would be beating myself quite easily. The speed of my shots, the way I'm moving -- I'm just doing everything better, honestly."

Lisicki, the No. 23 seed, was 1-6 this year against players in the Top 20 prior to Wimbledon. That figure is now 4-6 with one match -- her first Grand Slam final -- ahead.

"I think I still haven't realized what I've done yet," Lisicki said after the semifinals.

"When I arrived here at the tournament, I said that anything's possible. That's what I believed; I still do ... I came to win every match that I walked onto the court for and that's what I've done so far, so I'm really looking forward to Saturday.

"There couldn't be any better place to play my first Grand Slam final."

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