Sabine lisicki continues to tinker with her wimbledon summer march. 25 years to the day after steffi graf’s first triumph, the berlin native has reached the semifinals of the world’s most important tennis tournament for the second time in her career.
After her two-set win over estonian kaia kanepi, the berlin player will meet last year’s finalist agnieszka radwanska from poland on thursday. The second semifinal will be contested by marion bartoli from france and belgian kirsten flipkens. Thus it is certain that a premiere grand slam winner will be crowned.
"I feel better than i did two years ago," said lisicki. "But it’s important not to look so far ahead. Let’s see what else is possible," she said at the press conference, wearing a white T-shirt with a green british flag printed on it. "It’s going to be a tough match. She also has a lot of confidence," said lisicki ahead of her third clash with radwanska.
Less than 24 hours after her sensational victory over world number one and five-time wimbledon champion serena williams of the u.S., lisicki easily beat kaia kanepi in two sets, 6:3, 6:3, after 65 minutes. "I had a great feeling even before the tournament. With the win against serena, that has naturally grown," said lisicki.
"She did it again…So difficult after yesterday and yet so confident…", tweeted national coach barbara rittner. Her fed cup player presented herself to the fans with great concentration – even though she was not allowed on the center court this time.
But even on court 1, lisicki impressively demonstrated why the lawn classic in london is her favorite tournament. Nowhere else goes the world number 24. Their work with such clarity and enthusiasm as in the all england lawn tennis club.
In the battle for a place in the final, she will be up against the highest-ranked player on the seedings list: world number four agnieszka radwanska. The polish player beat the chinese li na in three sets. Lisicki’s record against radwanska is balanced.
But the self-confidence thing is even more important for lisicki. Two years ago, the berlin-based player was beaten in the preliminary round by russia’s maria sharapova. This year, not a few people think she can pull off the biggest coup since the one against williams.
The english newspapers also gave more space on the front pages to the jubilant lisicki than to her national hopeful, andy murray. "This support from the fans is unbelievable, it’s the best feeling in the world," said lisicki, who seems to have won the hearts of british fans.
"I don’t feel any pressure. I go into every match to win it. I’m really ready for the semifinals," said the 23-year-old. Lisicki is only the sixth german to make it this far at wimbledon joining cilly aussem, hilde krahwinkel, bettina bunge, steffi graf and most recently angelique kerber.
Last german title holder on church road was steffi graf in 1996. Lisicki’s new coach wim fissette has already coached a grand slam winner: belgian kim clijsters. "An hour later she was already thinking about tomorrow, her head is already in the direction of tomorrow. And that’s very good," fissette had said after the win against williams. Because there were enough warning examples in these crazy wimbledon days: the federer defeater stachowski was eliminated one round later, the scharapova winner larcher de brito also failed after her coup.
But lisicki remained focused even against kanepi. Just in time before the first downpour of the day, the last german left in the field converted her third match ball. With a towel over her shoulders lisicki signed autographs, while behind her the green plans were pulled over the lawn.
When she scored the point in the third set to make it 3:2, mother elisabeth, father richard, coach fissette and team manager rittner nodded appreciatively towards lisicki on the tribune. Lisicki missed two match balls, then she raised both hands high and threw her now obligatory kissing hand into the audience.