Marion Bartoli, the 15th-seeded Frenchwoman, defeated #23 Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-1, 6-4 in only an hour and 21 minutes to win her first major title at Wimbledon on Saturday. Bartoli is only the sixth player in the Open Era to win Wimbledon without dropping a set and the first woman to win it without facing a top 10 seed.
It was a fitting end to the most unpredictable women’s Wimbledon tournament in memory. Everyone brushed aside the women’s side because it was all about #1 Serena Williams. No one gave a second thought to those behind her or the ones she would face. No one thought Lisicki would defeat Williams in the fourth round and #4 Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals. Most of all, no one predicted Lisicki and Bartoli would be in the finals.
The match started out with Lisicki dominating the first game. She earned two break points on Bartoli’s serve, but Bartoli fought back to deuce. She had two double faults, which allowed Lisicki to go up 1-0.
After that it was all Bartoli. In the first four games Lisicki only got in 58% of her first serves and she trailed 3-1. The fifth was not any better and Bartoli made it 4-1 with a love service game. Bartoli was in complete control and Lisicki was shaken. There were many times Lisicki could not control her emotions and broke down in tears.
Lisicki’s unforced errors mounted to 11 in the sixth game and dropped her serve to Bartoli. Bartoli was up 5-1 and barely breaking a sweat. She only had four unforced errors and served the first set out to love to win it 6-1 in only 30 minutes. A very shaken Lisicki escaped to the locker room to calm down while Bartoli took her seat.
“I think I was just overwhelmed by whole situation,” said Lisicki. “Credit to Marion. She’s been in this situation and she handled it so well.”
The second set started off exactly the same as the first and it appeared Lisicki finally calmed her nerves. She went up 30-0 and only lost one game to go up on Bartoli 1-0. Bartoli served the second game and double faulted twice. But again, Bartoli forced deuce, wore out Lisicki, and after four break points Bartoli emerged victorious to tie the set 1-1. It caused Lisicki to melt down and Bartoli to find her groove. Lisicki tried to force Bartoli to move around, but Bartoli had no problem facing Lisicki’s powerful serves or groundstrokes and was once again up 5-1 and only one game away from winning Wimbledon.
But Lisicki woke up. She managed to put off three championship points to push it to 5-4. However, Bartoli was not going to back down and won the final game in straight points with a 105mph ace out wide.
“To become Wimbledon champion with ace I couldn’t have dreamed it,” said Bartoli. “Been practicing my serve so long I saved it for best moment.”
In a rush of excitement Bartoli literally stormed the stands to her family. She lightly hugged people she met until she found her target: her father Walter Bartoli. She wrapped her arms around her father and they gave each other the tightest hug. It was a very sweet and tender moment.
She made her way down to retrieve the most treasured trophy in professional tennis. She curtsied politely as she accepted the Wimbledon trophy and her face was still in shock. The Frenchwoman struggled to express her excitement.
“Honestly just don’t believe it,” she exclaimed. “You’ll have to forgive me if I do English mistakes. Dreamed about this for so long.”
She acknowledged Lisicki and told her one day she will be a champion. Lisicki tearfully clung to her runner up trophy, but had a huge smile on her face.
Bartoli will take home a $2.4-million check for her win.
“When I started this campaign on Court 14 if you’d told me I would win I’d think it impossible,” said Bartoli. “Have dreamed of this since 6 years old.”