WTA Best Matches of 2013: 7. Lisicki d. Serena (Wimbledon)


Lisicki d. S.Williams, 6-2 1-6 6-4 (Wimbledon, R4)

Number 7 in my list goes to one of the biggest shocks of the season when Serena Williams met Sabine Lisicki in the 4th round of Wimbledon.  Heading up the Magic Monday schedule on Centre Court on arguably the best tennis day of the year, Serena was set for her toughest test yet against a player who had proven her credentials on the grass and in doing so, had a super smart record for knocking out French Open champions at Wimbledon.  In the past four years, Lisicki had beaten Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009), Li Na (2011) and Maria Sharapova (2012), and the omens immediately looked good for Sabine lining up against Serena.

It is important for anyone against Serena to get off to a good start and Sabine did that.  After failing to convert on break points at 1-2, she did so at the next opportunity and then raced through the opening set, 6-2,  finishing it off with a convincing return winner.  The second set passed by pretty quickly as Lisicki started to overpush and the world number one assumed authority of the match to win it 6-1 and force a decider.  The Brits love an underdog and they like Sabine so the crowd really got involved as this match grew towards its conclusion.

Lisicki looked dead in the water at 3-1 40-15 down in the third set, but the German firecracker, who seemingly lives and breathes every year for Wimbledon, was not thinking of conceding defeat just yet.  She showed the fire in her eyes once more and clawed her way back to 3-3.  There were a series of breaks as Serena continued to look ill at ease.  There was a remarkable point at 2:25 in the first video below where the American was stumbling all over the place trying to get to a sneaky Lisicki drop shot.

It really did creep up on you out of nowhere that this shock was going to happen.  Sabine broke for 5-4* in the decider, showing the heart and belief that so few players have shown this year against Serena.  I expected Sabine to struggle serving for the match and she did wobble as the finishing line came into sight. However on another remarkable point, Serena eased off the gas as Lisicki slammed her foot right on it completing the upset with a forehand winner.  Lisicki sank to the grass in front of a jubilant Centre Court crowd.

It was an tremendous match that was played to a very high level and it was probably the match this year that invoked the most emotion from me.  I love an upset and I do like Sabine so it’s no lie I was jumping up and down, and shouting the place down when she won!  I like that she isn’t afraid to show her emotions in her interviews and she certainly endeared herself to the British public throughout the whole of Wimbledon.  I cannot wait to see how she gets on next year where no matter what her form is preceding the event, she will be a dark horse for the title.

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