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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Tennis

Eyeing a dream ending to fairytale
Hindustan Times
London, July 06, 2013
First Published: 00:22 IST(6/7/2013)
Last Updated: 01:29 IST(6/7/2013)

Germany's Sabine Lisicki admits winning the Wimbledon final against Marion Bartoli on Saturday would be the perfect way to cap her remarkable recovery from a devastating injury that threatened to ruin her career.

When Lisicki walks onto Centre Court for her first Grand Slam final this weekend it will be both the culmination of a childhood dream and also a fitting end to a tale of redemption that started three years ago.

The 23-year-old German's joyful celebration at the conclusion of Thursday's dramatic 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 win over Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska was a far cry from the dark days of 2010 when she was on crutches for months after sustaining a serious left ankle injury at Indian Wells.

Unable to walk and with her promising career in the balance, Lisicki was at a crossroad. But she refused to bow to suggestions that it might be better to leave tennis. And after five months of rehabilitation, she was finally able to return to action.

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By the end of 2010 her ranking had slipped from 23 to 179 and in March 2011, she was down at 218. But later that year she reached the Wimbledon semi-finals as a wildcard and hasn't looked back since.

Beating French 15th seed Bartoli in a battle of two players both looking for their first Grand Slam title would be the icing on the cake. Victory this weekend would make Lisicki Germany's first champion at a major since Graf’s 1999 French Open win.

History favours Lisicki, who has won three of her four meetings with Bartoli. But Bartoli, famous for her bizarre on-court mannerisms, swept into her second Wimbledon final with a 6-1, 6-2 demolition of Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens.

"If you compare the speed of my shots, the way I'm moving, I'm just doing everything better than six years ago," she said.


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