The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

July 5, 2013

Spurred on by Graf, Lisicki makes Wimbledon final

LONDON (AP) — Spurred on by Steffi Graf and inspired by an array of other sporting greats, Sabine Lisicki pulled herself out of a big hole and climbed right into the Wimbledon final.

The 23rd-seeded German, a Wimbledon semifinalist two years ago, overcame a 3-0 deficit in the third set to beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 Thursday and advance to her first Grand Slam final.

On Saturday, she will face Marion Bartoli, a 6-1, 6-2 winner over Kirsten Flipkens in the other semifinal.

"It's another challenge, and I'm looking forward to it," said Lisicki, who beat defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round.

The men's semifinals are set for Friday, with top-seeded Novak Djokovic playing Juan Martin del Potro and 2012 finalist Andy Murray up against the surprising 24th-seeded Jerzy Janowicz.

Saturday's final will be the second at Wimbledon in the 45-year Open era between two women who have never won a Grand Slam title. Although Bartoli has the edge in experience after reaching the 2007 final at the All England Club, Lisicki may have the bigger advantage with a 3-1 record against the Frenchwoman, including a quarterfinal win at Wimbledon in 2011 in their last meeting.

Lisicki started off Thursday playing aggressive tennis on Centre Court, and it yielded immediate results. She won 22 of her 30 points on serve and broke Radwanska once.

But soon after, Lisicki's serve deserted her, and so did her lead.

Lisicki lost all four of her service games in the second set, with the lowlight coming in the final game. Leading 30-0, Lisicki lost four straight points, including two double-faults.

"She made some really good points. I made a few errors too many," said Lisicki, the first German to reach the Wimbledon final since Graf in 1999. "But I regained my focus and game in the third set, and that's the main part."

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