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Bartoli, Lisicki reach Wimbledon final

12:33 PM, Jul 4, 2013   |    comments
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Wimbledon, England (Sports Network) - The 2013 Wimbledon champion on the ladies' side will be 15th-seeded Marion Bartoli or 23rd seed Sabine Lisicki.

The two women were Thursday's semifinal winners on Centre Court at the famed All England Club, as the German slugger Lisicki upset fourth-seeded 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4, 2-6, 9-7, while France's Bartoli secured a berth in her second Wimbledon final in seven years with an easy 6-1, 6-2 victory over 20th-seeded Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.

Lisicki reached her first-ever major final, appearing in her 20th Grand Slam event, by ousting Radwanska for perhaps the biggest victory of her career.

Radwanska was last year's runner-up to the great Serena Williams, who was Lisicki's stunning fourth-round victim here on Monday.

After splitting the first two sets, Lisicki and Radwanska would head to a deciding third.

Radwanska appeared on her way to a first-ever major final, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the final set, but the big-serving Lisicki would not go away en route to becoming the first German Wimbledon finalist since the legendary Steffi Graf in 1999.

Lisicki broke for a 5-4 lead in the third set, but Radwanska broke right back to level the stanza.

The 23-year-old Lisicki, however, got the key break of the match to assume an 8-7 lead and consolidated the break with a hold in the next game. The German converted on her second match point via forehand winner after 2 hours, 18 minutes of compelling tennis.

Lisicki recorded a 122-mph serve and smacked nine aces, but also piled up seven double faults. Both players broke serve on six occasions, but none were bigger than the German's in the 15th game of the final set.

The 24-year-old Radwanska is now 1-1 in her career Grand Slam semis, both at Wimbledon over the last two years. She was a quarterfinal loser at this year's Aussie and French Opens.

Lisicki will seek her fourth career title in her eight career final on Saturday. She's now 1-1 in her career Grand Slam semis, with the loss coming at Wimbledon two years ago.

Earlier Thursday, Bartoli simply overpowered Flipkens on Centre Court. The lopsided affair was over in just over an hour, as Bartoli swatted five aces and broke her Belgian counterpart five times, compared to only one break for the loser.

The 27-year-old Flipkens was appearing in her first-ever Grand Slam semi.

Thursday marked the first-ever meeting between Bartoli and Flipkens, who this time a year ago was battling problems with blood clots in her legs and ranked outside the top 200. The crafty Belgian was slowed by a sore right knee on Day 10.

"I think maybe she was a bit injured today," Bartoli said. "It must be hard for her to be injured in the semifinal of Wimbledon, but she deserved a lot of respect."

Bartoli, who claimed to have taken a nap just 30 minutes before Thursday's match, is now 2-1 in her career Grand Slam semis, with both wins coming at the All England Club.

"Oh my Gosh, I just really can't believe it right now. I was playing so great," she said. "Today I saw the ball like a football. I was playing so well. I was hitting the ball very cleanly from the start. She was playing a lot of slices so I needed to be very good with my footwork."

The 28-year-old Bartoli was the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up, losing to five- time winner Venus Williams. She owns seven career titles overall and has been a runner-up on 11 occasions on the WTA circuit. Her last title came in Osaka, Japan in 2011.

Bartoli and Lisicki will meet for a fourth time, with the German leading their lifetime series, 3-1. Bartoli beat Lisicki in the opening round here on the Wimbledon grass in 2008, while the German topped the Frenchwoman in the quarterfinals at the All England Club in two years ago. Lisicki also beat Bartoli in two other WTA matches, both in Charleston, in 2009 and 2011.

Saturday's big winner will become a first-time major singles champion and collect $2.4 million.

The Sports Network

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