Three Stars: Day 4

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Thursday June 23rd, 2011

Sabine Lisicki (above) engineered the biggest upset of the tournament so far, taking out third-seeded Li Na on Centre Court. (Cynthia Lum/Icon SMI)

WIMBLEDON, England — Here’s a look at three players who distinguished themselves on the fourth day of Wimbledon.

1. Sabine Lisicki: Wait a minute, wasn’t she carried off on a stretcher at the French Open? Something about cramps, or possibly just nerves? She resurfaced splendidly to win the Birmingham warmup tournament, got a wild-card entry into Wimbledon, and now she has knocked off Li Na in a Centre Court stunner, 3-6, 6-4, 8-6. This was no fluke. Lisicki has moved into Serena Williams territory with a crackling first serve that topped out at 124 m.p.h. against Li, and that serve kept her in the tournament at a point when she was down 3-5 and 15-40 in the third set. Great stuff -- and here’s yet another female player who absolutely crushes the ball and can take down anyone at any time.

2. Robin Soderling: Accused by some as lacking the mental toughness to join the elite, he came back from two sets down to outlast Lleyton Hewitt, 6-7 (5), 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4. Soderling desperately wants to join the big boys in the top tier, and this was a pretty impressive step. Major huzzahs to Hewitt, as well, for playing through a number of injuries to compete in his favorite tournament. “This is what I play for,” said Hewitt, who won the 2002 final against David Nalbandian. “And there’s nothing like Centre Court -- the best court to play tennis on. Fantastic atmosphere. You walk onto that court, you get goosebumps every time.”

3. Roger Federer:
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