Three Stars: Day 8

Tuesday June 28th, 2011

Surprise Wimbledon semifinalist Sabine Lisicki overcame a tricky second set to eliminate a drained Marion Bartoli in three. (UPI/Hugo Philpott/Landov)

WIMBLEDON, England — Three thoughts on the women’s quarterfinals held Tuesday at Wimbledon:

1. Sabine Lisicki, rightfully claimed by Poland (her parents’ heritage) and Germany (her home), is a shining light of the power generation. Her first serves are rhythmic, reliable and as powerful as anyone’s in the game. She rips her groundstrokes with an abandon typical of today’s top players (wherever you are, Williams sisters, you started it all). She had a difficult second set against Marion Bartoli, letting three match points slip away, and nearly an hour passed before she got another one. This time she made no mistake, closing out a 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1 win. Credit Lisicki, also, for spotting Bartoli’s empty gas tank and exposing it with a series of highly effective drop shots (like this gorgeous kiss).

2. It’s awfully easy to pick Maria Sharapova against a field that can’t come close to matching her experience, but I’ll take Petra Kvitova. She’s unflappable out there, never too excitable or self-destructive, and she clubs the forehand as hard as anyone. I like her to beat Victoria Azarenka -- if for no other reason than to get some peace and quiet around here -- and then take down Sharapova in the final. If that happens, top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki should take a good, hard look into her rear-view mirror. 3. Once the match is over and she lets her hair down, Marion Bartoli is really quite charming. Everyone on tour should be that nice. But I can’t imagine anyone, even little kids, imitating her crazy on-court routines. “Seems fatiguing,” muttered John McEnroe on BBC Television as Bartoli took her frantic practice swings between points, and he was absolutely right. Here’s someone to emulate, for my money: Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, who took Kvitova to three sets. She plays quietly, with class, and only throws a fist-pump when she’s hit an especially good shot. Once she learns to compete outside the All England Club (coming in, she’d won only nine matches in 22 tournaments between Wimbledons), she can be a force on tour.

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