Force Lisicki too strong for wily Radwanska in epic semi
Updated: 2013-07-05 08:29
Sabine Lisicki of Germany stretches to hit a return to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland during their women's semifinal tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, July 4, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
LONDON - Sabine Lisicki came out on top in a fluctuating three-set CentER Court epic to reach a maiden Grand Slam final as her bludgeoning brutality proved too much for the crafty Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon on Thursday.
The German, who became a household name when she upset Serena Williams in the fourth round, backed up her giant-killing with a gripping test of nerve and she flashed her now familiar smile after securing a 6-4 2-6 9-7 victory.
You would not think that the 23rd seed with the walloping serve and firecracker forehands was allergic to grass as it seems the slightest whiff of the All-England Club's lawns brings out her spectacular A-game.
She was too tough, both physically and mentally, for fourth seed Radwanska, outlasting the Pole in a lengthy decider and keeping her nerve to set up a Saturday showdown with 15th-seeded Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli.
"It was unbelievable, the last few games were so exciting," Lisicki said after bowing to all four sides of the arena, having delighted the masses following Bartoli's quickfire rout of Kirsten Flipkens.
"Agnieszka played so well, it was a battle and I'm so happy to have won it."
Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland runs to hit a return to Sabine Lisicki of Germany during their women's semifinal tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, July 4, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
Radwanska had pedigree having reached the final last year and her thoughtful approach to the game provided a fascinating contrast with Lisicki's raw power.
The German's cannonball serve initially proved too strong for the Pole, but just as the match appeared to be heading in Lisicki's direction, the Pole used all her skills to reverse the flow.
The Lisicki serve capitulated in the second set and Radwanska worked her around the court, creating angles and forcing errors.
In the end, however, it came down to a test of will and after two hours and 18 minutes, Lisicki prevailed, becoming the first German woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Steffi Graf at Wimbledon in 1999.