Lisicki keeps winning to reach Wimbledon semis
LONDON (AP) — If Sabine Lisicki had a letdown after defeating Serena Williams, it didn’t show.
If Lisicki is penciling herself into the Wimbledon final, she isn’t saying.
Showing no drop-off after her dramatic victory over Williams, the 23rd-seeded Lisicki returned Tuesday and made quick work of a much less intimidating opponent, 46th-ranked Kaia Kanepi, dispatching her 6-3, 6-3 in 65 minutes to advance to her second career Wimbledon semifinal.
“I was ready today,” Lisicki said. “I knew from the past, out of experience, that I needed to make the switch quickly to be ready, and that’s what I did.”
Indeed. Lisicki opened the match by breaking Kanepi’s serve in the first game and didn’t look back in that set. In the second, she had one hiccup — a game in which she double-faulted three times to drop a break and fall behind 2-1. She broke back right away, however, and won four of the next five games to close out the match.
Now, the 23-year-old German finds herself in the Wimbledon semifinals for the second time in three years. Her win against Williams made her the new, odds-on favorite to win the title and even pushed Britain’s favorite tennis player, Andy Murray, off the back pages of a couple London tabloids.
All of which means almost nothing — at least to hear Lisicki tell it.
“Match by match,” she said. “Did that from the start and will continue to do that.”
Her next opponent is No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated No. 6 Li Na 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2 in a match that took more than 3½ hours to complete and included two rain delays, an injury timeout and a final game that lasted more than 10 minutes.
The other semifinal will pit No. 15 Marion Bartoli of France against No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.
Flipkens beat eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to knock the last remaining Grand Slam tournament winner out of the draw. Flipkens won her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal, continuing quite a comeback from health problems that dropped her to No. 262 last year, not even eligible for the Wimbledon qualifying tournament.
While Flipkens was winning, one of Belgium’s best, Kim Clijsters was at home in America watching.
“Still drying my eyes,” Clijsters tweeted. “So proud of how (Flipkens) handled the big occasion for the first time!”
Flipkens, who was sidelined with blood clots in her legs, counts Clijsters among the few who believed in her when things got rough.
“The people believing in me, I can count on one hand,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
Bartoli eliminated the last remaining American singles player, beating Sloane Stephens 6-4, 7-5 in a match halted with Stephens serving, down 5-4 at deuce. After the delay, Bartoli came out and won two points to secure the first set. Soon after, she was showered with boos because she had asked the umpire to stop the match in the first set when it started sprinkling on Court 1.
“I didn’t really get why the crowd was so against me at that point,” Bartoli said. “Already, the courts were a bit slippery even when it’s dry. When it’s wet, it can get dangerous. I didn’t want to stop the match for no reason. It was a precaution.”
Stephens said it would have been nice to finish the game before the break, which lasted about 2 ½ hours.
“Coming back and serving at deuce, that’s always going to be tough for anyone,” she said.
This is Bartoli’s longest run at a Grand Slam since the 2011 French Open and her longest at Wimbledon since 2007, when she lost to Venus Williams in what remains her only Grand Slam final.
Meanwhile, Radwanska moved one win from her second straight Wimbledon final, putting Li away on the eighth match point. Radwanska called for a medical timeout after the second set so a trainer could work on her right thigh. Up 5-2 in the third set, she called for the trainer again for a quick treatment on both legs.
“If it’s the end of a Grand Slam you don’t really think about the pain or anything else,” Radwanska said. “You just fight until the end. That’s what I was doing today.”
With Radwanska advancing, Poland is guaranteed a semifinalist in both the men’s and women’s draws. On Wednesday, Jerzy Janowicz plays Lukasz Kubot in an all-Polish men’s quarterfinal.
“I kind of started it,” said Radwanska, who last year became the first Polish woman to reach a Grand Slam final since 1939, before falling to Williams. “It’s great to have, now, the guys doing very, very well. Especially Jerzy. He’s a young, great, upcoming player. I believe he’s also going to be top-10. This is, for sure, not his last quarterfinal of a Grand Slam.”
While all the other quarterfinalists were battling each other and the rain, Lisicki had the luxury of sitting back and watching all the action unfold. Her match against Kanepi was over quickly — and nowhere near as grueling as the emotion-packed upset over Williams the previous day.
“It was a different matchup,” Lisicki said. “I was just as focused as yesterday because I knew it’s going to be tough after yesterday’s match to just keep the level up. But I think I did a very good job to go for my shots and play smart. It had to be a different game today.”
Whereas Lisicki was forced to match Williams’ power, she played more of a finesse game against Kanepi. Six of her 23 winners against Kanepi came off drop shots and Lisicki needed only two aces (compared with 10 against Williams in their three-set match) to defeat her Estonian opponent.
Kanepi, who advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Britain’s Laura Robson, said she couldn’t match her play from that victory. She had 13 winners and 23 unforced errors against Lisicki and fell to 0-5 in Grand Slam quarterfinals.
“I thought (when) I tried to attack in previous matches, I hit winners and did well, but today I was missing a lot,” Kanepi said. “But on grass there is no Plan B. I just have to go for my shots. If there is a ball, I have to hit it.”