All white Wimbledon is all set to get a new woman champion as both finalists have never won the trophy. Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki are the finalists of this year’s grass court crusade, and the traditionally white tourney is waiting fingers crossed to see a new champion in the making. Fresh faces are set to steal the Wimbledon limelight away from fashion conscious Maria Sharapova or strong headed Serena Williams. The lost romance of women’s tennis is really coming back with new sensations.
Saturday’s final will be the second at Wimbledon in the 45-year Open era between two women who have never won a Grand Slam title. Lisicki has a 3-1 record against Bartoli, including a quarterfinal win at Wimbledon in 2011 – their last meeting.
On Saturday, they will meet in the Wimbledon final and one of them will win the grand slam title for the first time. Their paths to the final were quite different, though. Bartoli, the no. 15 seed didn’t have to face a seed higher than number 17, Sloane Stephens, in the half of the draw vacated by number 2 Victoria Azarenka and number 3 Maria Sharapova. She has not lost a set in the tournament after easily dispatching 20th seed Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2 in 62 minutes in the semi-finals Thursday.
Bartoli, 28, has not been to a grand slam final since she was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2007. Before Thursday she had not played reached the semi-final stage of a tournament this year. But in the match, she was cool and quite in control. Both Bartoli and Lisicki confirmed with confidence that Wimbledon is set to get a new woman champion.
On her way to the final, Lisicki, seeded 23rd, defeated 14th seed Sam Stosur, top-seeded Serena Williams and, on Thursday, fourth seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in a two hour eight minute battle 6-4, 2-6, 9-7. Lisicki lost the second set, only to make a comeback with more force and endeavor. Interestingly, she was in same situation against Serena in the fourth round, but success gave her confidence.
Lisicki, 23, is the first German player to reach the Wimbledon final since Steffi Graph in 1999. Lisicki said Graph has sent her a good luck message and she wants to keep the faith on her ability. “I thought, ‘I’ve done it against Serena so you can do it today as well, just hang in there,'” Lisicki said. “It gave me so much confidence and I’m just so, so happy I was able to finish it.”
Bartoli wasted little time in her match, dancing and grunting her way to victory over the 20th seeded Belgian who was playing in her first major semifinal.
“I played great. I executed very well. I hit lobs, passing shots, winners, returns, everything worked out perfectly,” said Bartoli, who won in 62 minutes. “When I fell on the grass after match point, it was just so emotional. I dreamed about that moment, about returning to the Wimbledon final.”
So, Wimbledon, the old school grass court; court of strawberries and cream; court of all white aristocracy, is all set to have a new champion. Finally, it is tennis time for Wimbledon women who want to play well more than they want to show off. ‘Sugarpova’ is all gone, there is no more Serena, the tough nut, but there are Bartoli and Lisicki to please the eyes with tantalizing tennis.
Written by: Jayeeta Shamsul