Marion Bartoli defeats Sabine Lisicki, captures first Grand Slam title
WIMBLEDON, England -- No. 15 Marion Bartoli defeated an overwhelmed Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final on Saturday to win her first Grand Slam title.
After breaking Bartoli to start the match, Lisicki, who was playing her first major final, dropped six straight games behind a flurry of nervous errors. The moment was just too much for the 23-year-old German, who came in on a tremendous run that saw her knock off defending champion and top-ranked Serena Williams in the fourth round and 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals. The No. 23 seed simply couldn't recover from her bad start.
While Lisicki spent the latter half of the match fighting back tears as she tried to put her booming serve into the court -- she won just 52 percent of her first-serve points -- Bartoli was the epitome of focus, intensity and calm in becoming the first Frenchwoman to win the title since Amelie Mauresmo in 2006. A finalist in 2007, Bartoli simply handled the stage better and played solidly. After Lisicki won three straight games and saved three championship points to close within 4-5 in the second set, the 28-year-old Bartoli held her final service game at love, punctuated with an ace in the corner.
Bartoli, who came out of the bottom half that was left wide open after Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka suffered early exits, became the first woman in the Open era (which began in 1968) to win Wimbledon without facing a top-10 seed. She is also the sixth woman in the Open era to win the title without dropping a set.
Game-by-game analysis of the Wimbledon final after the jump.
Championship Trophy Ceremony
Lisicki is weeping during her on court interview with Sue Barker, who basically makes everyone cry.
"I think I was just overwhelmed by this whole situation," Lisicki says through tears. "Credit to Marion. She's been in that situation before and she handled it so well. I hope I'll get the chance one more time as well. ... I want to thank my entire team for being there for me. We've been through so much, through ups and downs, and this was my first Slam final and I wish I won it. But I hope we get there one more time." Much like Andy Murray in last year's final, the players are always the most emotional when they address their teams."
"I know how it feels Sabine, and I'm sure you will be here one more time, no doubt about it." Classy stuff from Bartoli.
"I've been practicing my serve for so long, at least I saved it for the best moment," Bartoli jokes. She says she can't believe she finished it with an ace.
"First of all, my dad who is here with me today. It means so much. And the whole team over there," Bartoli says, name-checking everyone. Bartoli with a sobering thought: She began her Wimbledon campaign, in which she did not drop a set on her way to the title, out on Court 14.
Lindsay Davenport reminds everyone that Bartoli hadn't won more than two matches in any given tournament coming into Wimbledon. Says it should give hope to the lower-ranked players that despite the domination of Serena, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, anything can still happen.
10:34 am. ET | Marion Bartoli defeats Sabine Lisicki, 6-1 6-4, to win Wimbledon.
In a great first point of the game, Bartoli withstands a barrage of power from Lisicki to come up with a gorgeous shot of her own, a cross-court short angle forehand that stuns the crowd and Lisicki, who sends the reply long. That's it for Lisicki. Bartoli gets three championship points at 40-0 and BOOM. Ace.
Marion Bartoli is your 2013 Wimbledon champion! Well deserved.
Looking at the stats, the one number that stands out is this one: Lisicki won just 52 percent of her first serve points. Just an anemic serving performance from Lisicki today, who was clearly overwhelmed by the occasion. That's tough to see, but it's also nice to see experience rewarded. This was Bartoli's time. Lisicki will have many more shots at this title, no doubt about it.
Bartoli looks absolutely stunned. She really doesn't know what to do. After shaking the umpire's hand she sprints to her box and after a precarious climb, finds her father Walter and gives him a hug.
10:29 am. ET | Lisicki holds, trails 4-5*.
The Centre Court crowd erupts as Lisicki holds her serve with a flurry of winners. That's how quickly she can turn her game around. But she's still a break down and Bartoli will get a second chance to serve out the match, this time with new balls.
10:26 am. ET | Lisicki breaks, trails *3-5.
At 15-all, Bartoli throws in her fourth double-fault of the day. She rebounds with a clean backhand winner, but then a forehand error gives Lisicki a break point, and she takes it when Bartoli sends a backhand long. That's the first break for Lisicki since the first game of the match.
It's not over, folks.
10:21 am. ET | Lisicki holds, trails 2-5*.
An easy hold for Bartoli means that Lisicki will serve to stay in the match.
Lisicki is playing like a woman who just doesn't want to be out there anymore. She's speeding through her service game, taking no time between points and pulling the trigger way too early and hitting errors. A forehand unforced error from Lisicki gives Bartoli two championship points, but Lisicki saves them both, forcing deuce. She then holds on an ace. Good for her.
Bartoli will serve to become the first Slam champion from France since Amelie Mauresmo won Wimbledon in 2006.
On the changeover, the camera zooms in on Bartoli, who is eating a banana but hasn't realized there's a piece of banana on her lip. Bless her.
10:14 am. ET | Bartoli breaks again, leads *4-1.
Both players have dealt with the pre-match pressures and expectations differently. Lisicki has been all swagger all week; her press conferences are all about how she believes in herself and how she truly thinks she can win this title. Despite being the lower-ranked player, she came in as the favorite and I do think she relished that role. She also came in with a 3-1 head-to-head record against Bartoli. She was the favorite in all respects. Now that things are slipping away, she doesn't know what to do out there. Serving at deuce at 1-3, she actually looks like she has tears in her eyes.
Bartoli, on the other hand, really seemed just happy to be here. On Saturday, she said, "When you set some goals for the year and it's about to come, you try to really set the highest goal as possible, obviously. Of course, it's more like a dream for me to win a Grand Slam really. If I'm totally honest, my goal was to be in the final again of a Grand Slam. But of course now that I am in the final, I just don't want to lose."
I was surprised to hear Bartoli admit that her goal was just to get to a final. She's an ambitious player, but she's not as crazy as people like to make her out to be. She has great perspective on the game and her career, and she probably thought if she was going to make another final, Serena would be standing on the other side of the net. Hence the more tempered goals. Hence the more tempered expectations and pressure. She's playing unencumbered today.
It's pretty difficult to serve with tears in your eyes. Lisicki is full on crying now as she double-faults at deuce to give Bartoli another break point. She spins in a soft second serve and Bartoli lets her off the hook, netting the return down the line. That was huge. Remember that point if Lisicki can mount a comeback.
Or maybe not. Lisicki nets a forehand, and Bartoli has two breaks in her pocket.
10:00 am. ET | Bartoli breaks, leads 2-1*.
Tremendous hold from Bartoli, who's come out a little flat to start this set. She's already hit more unforced errors in two games than she did the entire first set. She fends off four break points and holds, fist in the air.
Then, to send a message, she sticks a backhand down the line winner laser on the sideline to win the first point on Lisicki's game. A double-fault from Lisicki gives Bartoli a slew of break points. Bartoli converts when she tracks down Lisicki's horrible drop shot and pushes it down the line, and then smacks an overhead winner on the high reply. She breaks and is up 2-1.
9:47 am. ET | Lisicki holds, leads 1-0*.
Lisicki stops the run of six straight games and finally gets her first hold of the match. She's trying to fire herself up and stay positive.
Quite true. She knows that she can pull herself out of this horror start. She's done it before.
I really liked what Bartoli said about how her experience in a Slam final, and Lisicki's lack of experience, might affect today's match. "Sabine has played some amazing tennis so far. She might be too good for me tomorrow, as well. I think having the advantage of playing a final already will help me dealing with my nerves. But then of course I have to deal with her level of game, which is also very hard to deal with. I will see how it goes for me. But I just want really to go out there and leave it all on the court and have no regrets when I will leave the court."
9:41 am. ET | Marion Bartoli wins the first set 6-1.
Easy love hold for Bartoli, which ends with a Lisicki forehand unforced error into the net. Appropriate. She hit 14 unforced errors in just seven games, seven off the forehand, five off the backhand. Honestly, she probably hit more than that but Wimbledon is very conservative in how they score unforced errors.
Lisicki leaves the court to change her kit and probably try and settle down. That was a solid set from Bartoli, who did well to pressure Lisicki just enough to get into her head. Once that happened, the German completely fell apart.
9:38 am. ET | Bartoli breaks again, leads *5-1.
Lisicki looks on her way to an easy hold but at 40-15 she throws in two forehand errors and then follows it up with a backhand into the net. The crowd is trying to urge her on and she responds with an ace. "Komm jetzt!" she yells, which means "Come on!" in German. Don't say that too loud, Sabine, the Brits might realize you're actually German.
Nice display of all-court tennis now between these two. On game point, Lisicki draws Bartoli in with a drop shot and the Frenchwoman gets there in time. Lisicki lines up a backhand cross-court pass but nets it. She's better with the dropper on the next point, though. Bartoli brings her in with a drop shot and she feathers an even better one right back for a winner.
But Bartoli hangs in with the help of Lisicki's errors. She double-faults to give away another break point and then a forehand unforced long gives over the game.
Bartoli will serve for the set.
9:29 am. ET | Bartoli breaks and consolidates, leads 4-1*.
First great point of the match gives Bartoli two break points. She draws Lisicki into the net and the two exchange touch volleys until Bartoli finally finishes it off with a backhand volley cross-court winner. Lots of "oohs" and "aahs" from the Centre Court crowd. Bartoli converts on her second break point as Lisicki puts a backhand into the net. Her footwork hasn't been great around the ball to start this match. The weight of expectation and pressure will do that.
Bartoli? Fleet of feet. She consolidates the break at love and jogs to her chair.
Lisicki, she of the Boom Boom serve, has yet to hold in this match.
9:22 am. ET | Bartoli holds, leads 2-1*.
Still nervy from the Lisicki side, but you know she'll just keep pounding until the nerves go away. After the first two games ended with double-faults, wouldn't it be appropriate for this one to end on an ace? It does. At 30-all, Lisicki gifts Bartoli a game point on a forehand unforced and then Bartoli seals it with an ace up the tee.
9:18 am. ET | Bartoli breaks back, tied *1-1.
Well nerves go both ways. Some errors off Lisicki's forehand side get her down to 15-40 on her own serve and then she double-faults on break point to equal Bartoli's charity.
9:17 am. ET | Lisicki breaks, leads *1-0.
Bartoli said her experience of being in a Slam final before would help her deal with her nerves. Not a good start from her though. She does well to save two break points from 15-40 to get to deuce, but then throws in two consecutive double faults to hand over the break.
9:10 am. ET | Warm-up
The players have their bouquets and they walk out on court on a sunny and warm -- dare I say hot? -- day at Wimbledon. Lisicki has her headphones in and her smile on. Eva Asderaki is the chair umpire for today's match.
The narrative in Britain -- as I assume it is back in the States -- is that Lisicki is the pig-tailed German with the easy smile and booming serve, while Bartoli is the wacky Frenchwoman who no one can understand. To say that's reductive and an unfair narrative to both players is an understatement.
Lisicki will be the crowd favorite. The British tabloids have been calling her "Doris Becker" and the British public really took to her after she knocked out Serena Williams in the fourth round. She's even been wearing a shirt with the Union Jack on the front during her press conferences. Bartoli was asked if she's prepared for the crowd to be against her today. "Well, I don't think I will have the whole crowd against me," she said, laughing. But at the end of the day, she's not British, as far as I know, so... I think it will be pretty fair regarding that."
It's a tough match to call because of the nerves that come into play for two players who are relatively inexperienced at this stage, though obviously Bartoli made the Wimbledon final six years ago. Here's my full preview of the match. I went with Lisicki in three sets. If she plays at her best level she's the better player.
Lisicki has received text messages this morning from Steffi Graf and German F1 racer Sebastien Vettel. She's the first German woman into the final of a Slam since Graf made the French Open in 1999. Sadly, the final is only being aired on cable back in Germany.
Bartoli will serve first. Players are ready.
No. 15 Marion Bartoli will meet No. 23 Sabine Lisicki in the Wimbledon final on Saturday. The match, televised on ESPN, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. ET.
Both women are seeking their first Grand Slam title. Bartoli is in her second major final; she lost to Venus Williams in the championship match at Wimbledon in 2007. The 28-year-old Frenchwoman hasn't lost a set en route to the final, beating No. 17 Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals and No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens in the semifinals. She will rise to No. 7 if she wins the title and No. 8 if she loses to Lisicki.
“I think, first of all, it will be a battle of nerves and who is able to come up with the best game on that day,” Bartoli said. “A final of a Grand Slam is always a matter of details. Maybe a point here, a point there will make the difference. Maybe someone who is a bit more gutsy than the other player, someone who is having a better day than the others. We are very close in terms of level. It will be, I’m sure, a pretty good match.”
Lisicki has reached her first major final after outlasting No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 in the semifinals. She is the first German to make a Slam final in 14 years.
“When I arrived here at the tournament, I just said that anything’s possible,” Lisicki said after beating Radwanska. “That’s what I believed; I still do. I came to win every match that I walk on the court for, and that’s what I’ve done so far. So I’m looking forward to Saturday.”