1. Sabine Lisicki is in fact really, really good on grass. Let’s take a look at her record:
Lisicki’s career win percentage on all surfaces is 60%. That number is 74% on grass. She’s 11-25 against top 10 players on all surfaces, but 7-5 against top 10 players on grass.
For me, the question remains whether she can translate her game as well to other surfaces. I hope she can, because she can be really fun to watch.
2. I don’t think any uproar over Radwanska’s chilly handshake is warranted. She didn’t pull a Berdych and refuse to shake Lisicki’s hand, and it’s a big ask for someone to be very friendly after a devastating 9-7 loss in the third set of a Wimbledon semifinal. Chalk it up to disappointment.
With due respect to JJ below, who has a different perspective, I think the fact that Janowicz and Kubot have a very close relationship, being Davis Cup teammates and friends, makes it an entirely different (and incomparable) situation to Radwanska and Lisicki.
3. One tournament can change everything. Look at the two women’s finalists, Lisicki and Bartoli. A month ago, many might have written them off as perpetual underachievers. Now, one of them will be a Grand Slam champion, and the other will have a Grand Slam final to add to their accomplishments. Particularly in looking at Lisicki, consistency is a really great thing for a tennis player, but a player doesn’t actually have to be consistent to make an impact.
1. Marion Bartoli is simply on fire. The French oddball, a cult favorite of sorts, made an emphatic statement about her intentions to go one step further at Wimbledon than she did years ago, when she was demolished by Venus Williams. Poor Kirsten Flipkens didn’t really stand a chance, even if that knee of hers was giving her all sorts of trouble. Really, the only blip in Marion’s performance was getting broken after Flipkens took a medical timeout to add some more tape to her already bulky bandage.
Really, what a dominant performance. I tip my hat to thee, Marion Bartoli.
2. I understand why Sabine Lisicki has a loyal, yet traumatized fanbase. Boom Boom can explode in all sorts of ways, both positive and negative. And as it’s been made evident in many matches in the past, Lisicki can take you through all sorts of peaks and valleys throughout a match.
I had Lisicki losing this match many, many times. First after she botched a straightforward volley on game point at 1-0 in the second set, which would have consolidated her opening game break. Then I had her losing when she was down 0-3 in the third set. Then I thought she was done after failing to serve out the match at 5-4. Then again when she served at 5-6 and 6-7. And even when she broke through at 7-all, I thought she’d get broken back straight away.
Turns out, Sabine Lisicki might be one win away from confirming that yes, she’s a slam-winning player, one who can overcome all sorts of self-inflicted adversity in order to triumph on the biggest stage. I never really thought I’d write that sentence.
3. Agnieszka Radwanska’s second serve is an enormous liability … but everyone knew that already. It’s simply astounding how the fourth-best female tennis player in the world can survive tennis matches when she tosses those 60 MPH second serves smack in the middle of the box. Whenever you wonder why she hasn’t risen higher in the rankings, or why she hasn’t won a slam, remember those second serves.
4. Speaking of the fourth-ranked Pole, I thought it was slightly jarring (for me) to see her flee center court after the quickest of handshakes with Lisicki. Why? Two reasons:
1.) Just the previous day her countrymen Janowicz and Kubot showed exemplary sportsmanship at the end of their historical quarterfinal. Kubot had to be crushed to lose out on becoming the first ever Polish male to reach a slam quarterfinal, yet not only did he and Janowicz have an incredible moment at net, but Kubot patiently stood on the court and waited for Janowicz to get his act together, just so they could exit the court together. It was a wonderful example of pure sportsmanship.
2.) If the semifinal against Lisicki had been full of screaming, staring and the like, sure, that kind of handshake would have seemed inevitable. However, after such a tough, enjoyable battle that had no contentious moments whatsoever, that kind of acknowledgement to a colleague just seemed strange. Like it belonged in a different match.
Anyway, Radwanska is free to do whatever she wants, but if you ask me what I’d prefer to see out of fellow competitors, I’d quickly point to what happened yesterday on Court 1 between the Poles.
1. I am a bit devastated today as I still try and process Aga’s loss, and I’ll have more stuff about that later today. Because I’m honest with you guys always, and this is our safe-space blog, I must say that I haven’t felt this bad after a loss like this in a long, long time.
That being said, writing is always the perfect therapy for me, and by writing about Sabine’s win I realized how happy I really am for her as well. But more on that in a minute.
As for Aga, I must say that I was very impressed with the way she fought back today and stayed calm as Sabine was zoning. She has played a lot of tennis over the past week and had to grit out a lot of tough matches, and it was clear that she didn’t have her legs later in the match. But no excuses. She was up a break in the third set and was two points away from the match a couple of times. These opportunities don’t come every single day, and gosh, did she know it. I’ve never seen her so disappointed after a match.
I’m going to address the handshake non-controversy later. I need a beer or two first.
2. Sabine Lisicki wears her heart on her sleeve, and boy, is she charismatic. I used to really be a big fan of hers back when she won Charleston in 2009, but over the years I will admit that the dramatic ups and downs have made me keep my distance. But I always thought that she should be a top 10 player and be competing with the best of her generation, so it is wonderful to see that she is putting it all together. She beat both of last year’s finalists on her way to her first Grand Slam final, and that’s pretty special.
Plus, there’s something about Sabine that just draws people in, and that is–cue the cliche–really good for our sport. As you guys know I do writing-for-hire for other sports sites. Let’s just say that going into today my assignment was to write a preview for the men’s semifinals, but after Sabine’s win it was changed to a piece on her. I thought that was pretty awesome, and to me it was a sign that she has really resonated with the general public this tournament, not just hardcore tennis fans. That’s pretty cool.
3. Also? I think the request for more info on Lisicki was an attribute to what a fabulous match that was. Of course there were down moments, but overall it was fantastic tennis from both ladies at some really big moments. It was a pretty cool showcase for women’s tennis, and nice to see the public get to know two players who aren’t Sharapova or Serena.
4. Marion Bartoli, you are a superstar. Does anyone come across as more lovely and likeable in interviews? No. I have fallen in love with her over and over and over again today. Words can’t really do her justice, so just watch some of her videos: