The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

July 6, 2013

Bartoli beats Lisicki to don Wimbledon crown

(Continued)

A memorable day for her wasn't such a beauty for tennis. The players' 39 unforced errors included 11 double-faults. They combined for only 36 winners.

This was Bartoli's first tournament title of any sort since 2011 and, at 28 years, 9 months, she became the fifth-oldest first-time Grand Slam winner in the Open era. Before Bartoli, Jana Novotna had taken the longest road to her first Grand Slam title, winning Wimbledon in 1998, her 45th start at a major.

Wimbledon's newest champion is awkward — with a jumping, twitching, fidgeting routine before each point, a service motion that includes no bouncing of the ball and a windup that begins with crossed wrists before she uncoils by arching her back, stretching her unbent arm behind her head, then tossing the ball. She hits two-handed groundstrokes from each side, pumps her fist after almost every point.

Whatever it is, it works. She punished those groundstrokes, had no problem with Lisicki's serve, which reached as high as 115 mph, and undercut the notion that only Serena Williams can play the power game in women's tennis.

It was Lisicki who knocked Williams out of this tournament in the fourth round, and had the big serve and big groundstrokes to keep going to her first career Grand Slam final.

What an unexpected final it was.

By the time Lisicki had ousted Williams, the Wimbledon draw had already been shaken and stirred.

No. 3 Maria Sharapova lost in the second round. No. 2 Victoria Azarenka withdrew two days after being injured while slipping on Court 1 during her first-round match. Petra Kvitova, Li Na and all the other former Grand Slam titleholders made their exits and the final top-10 seed departed when Lisicki beat No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals.

And so, Bartoli became the first woman to win Wimbledon without facing a top-10 seed. As a result, she'll move to No. 7 in the rankings when the new list comes out Monday.

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