WIMBLEDON -- Marion Bartoli of France overpowered a nervous Sabine Lisicki in the first set and rode out a challenge from her ponytailed German opponent in the second set to win her first Wimbledon title in her second appearance in the final.
Bartoli, seeded 15th, prevailed over No. 23 Lisicki, 6-1, 6-4, on a sunny day on Centre Court. Bartoli became the first French woman to win the Wimbledon singles title since Amelie Mauresmo -- Bartoli’s coach -- triumphed here in 2006.
“Dreams come true,” Bartoli said while still celebrating her victory on the court.
Because of a series of upsets that rocked the tournament in the first week, Bartoli had a relatively easy path to the final and didn’t have to face a player seeded in the top 10. The highest-seeded players Bartoli faced were No. 17 Sloane Stephens of the U.S. in the quarterfinals and No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in the semifinals.
Lisicki, who was born in Germany but lives in Bradenton, Fla., had the harder road to the final. She had to beat Grand Slam champions Sam Stosur (No. 14) in third round, Serena Willams (No. 1) in round of 16, and No. 4 Agnieska Radwanska of Poland in the semifinals.
“I still love this tournament so much. I still love this court so much,” Lisicki said, her voice breaking with emotion.
She asked if she could thank her team of supporters, and broke down in mid-sentence. “We’ve been through so much, so many ups and downs,” she said. “This was my first Grand Slam final. I hope we get this chance one more time.”
Bartoli, a gracious winner, assured Lisicki that she would have another chance. “You will be here one more time. I have no doubt about it,” Bartoli said.
Bartoli, 28, set an unofficial record of sorts by competing in the most Grand Slams before winning a Grand Slam title. This was her 47th Grand Slam appearance. The previous record was held by Jana Novotna, who won at Wimbledon in her 45th slam appearance, in 1998.
Bartoli became the first player ranked outside the top 10 to win the Wimbledon women’s title since Venus Williams, who was ranked No. 31 in 2007. Bartoli lost to Williams that day and had not returned to the final since.
Bartoli lost her serve in the first game of the match but roared back to win the next six games. Lisicki, nicknamed “Boom Boom” for her trademark big serve, wasn’t getting anything from that serve and was visibly nervous. As the first set progressed, Lisicki, the crowd favorite, became teary-eyed in frustration as she couldn’t handle the punishing, two-handed strokes that Bartoli hit from both sides.
The first set took only 29 minutes and ended when Lisicki hit a forehand into the net on Bartoli’s first set point.
Lisicki held serve for the first time in the first game of the second set and had four break points in the second game but Bartoli held and then broke Lisicki’s serve again for a 2-1 lead. That lead became 4-1 after Bartoli held serve and broke Lisicki again, and it ballooned to 5-1 when Bartoli held serve at love.
The crowd voiced its support for Lisicki as she prepared to serve in the seventh game, and that appeared to give Lisicki new strength. She saved three match points and held serve, then broke Bartoli in the eighth game. Lisicki then held service, as the crowd began buzzing about possibly seeing another comeback from Lisicki, who had been down 0-3 in the third set against Williams and Radwanska but battled back to win.
But Bartoli -- who hadn’t won a title since 2011 -- wasn’t about to let this slip away. She served for the match and won at love, finishing it off with an ace.
She then ran toward the stands and climbed up to the players' box to hug her entourage that included her father, Walter, who coached her for many years before a split that left Bartoli off-kilter for quite a while. The most perilous part of her day was climbing back down to the court to receive the Venus Rosewater Dish awarded to the winner.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times