Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon

Wimbledon 2013 fourth round women’s singles action pitted No.1 seed and defending champion Serena Williams playing the first match on centre court against No.23 seed Sabine Lisicki.

After winning her past 34 matches in a row, 72 of her past 75 matches and claiming three of the past four Grand Slams, Serena was the heavy favourite to win the title for a sixth time.

After a seesaw split of the first two sets the decisive third set was an exciting tug-of-war between two big hitting power players. Lisicki won the opening set 6-2 by converting two of three break points opportunities and hitting 15 winners to 8 unforced errors versus Serena’s 7 winners and 12 unforced errors.

The second set was all the other way, with Serena converting three of six break points, hitting 6 winners without making a single unforced error and winning 30 points to 15 in total, for 6-1 in just 27 minutes. The 5-time Wimbledon champion hit her stride taking nine games on end from 0-1 in the second set to lead 3-0 in the final set.

Lisicki managed to string six of the final seven games together in a great fight back riding on a wave of crowd support for the challenger to the thrown. In the final set Lisicki fired 11 winners, including, what she must count as one of her best forehand ones on her second match point to Serena’s 12 winners.

The decisive factor in this match was that the German had better selection of the shots to play under pressure and executed at the critical swing stages of the set. Lisicki achieved 60% conversion of her final set break point opportunities (3 of 5) versus Serena’s 33% (2 of 6) and won 83% (5 of 6) forays to the net contrasted with Serena’s 29% (4 of 14) transitions into the fore court.

Afterwards Serena lamented that she did not try to dictate the play and impose her will on her opponent, “I didn’t play the big points good enough. I didn’t do what I do best. I think I had a little hesitation, and that explains it.” Serena felt it was her opponent that seized the initiative and played really well, noting that, “She played a super aggressive game.”

The 1.78m Lisicki scored back-to-back wins at Wimbledon over the No.1 seed today, after defeating Maria Sharapova last year. Everything about her performances at Wimbledon is impressive, including the fact that she has defeated three Grand Slam champions in her four matches en route to her fourth straight quarter final (Schiavone, Stosur and Serena).

The 23-year-old Lisicki has now beaten the reigning Roland Garros champion three years in a row at Wimbledon and in each of her past four Wimbledon campaigns including, her best result thus far, being a semi finalist in 2011. On paper her next match against the unseeded Kaia Kanepi suggests she may earn a second chance to play-off for a spot in the final.

photo credit: Andy2982

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