Lisicki keeps winning to reach Wimbledon semis

Jul. 02, 2013 @ 06:59 PM

If Sabine Lisicki had a letdown after defeating Serena Williams, it didn’t show.

If Lisicki is penciling herself into the Wimbledon final, she isn’t saying.

Showing no drop-off after her dramatic victory over Williams, the 23rd-seeded Lisicki returned Tuesday and made quick work of a much less intimidating opponent, 46th-ranked Kaia Kanepi, dispatching her 6-3, 6-3 in 65 minutes to advance to her second career Wimbledon semifinal.

“I was ready today,” Lisicki said. “I knew from the past, out of experience, that I needed to make the switch quickly to be ready, and that’s what I did.”

Indeed. Lisicki opened the match by breaking Kanepi’s serve in the first game and didn’t look back in that set. In the second, she had one hiccup — a game in which she double-faulted three times to drop a break and fall behind 2-1. She broke back right away, however, and won four of the next five games to close out the match.

Now, the 23-year-old German finds herself in the Wimbledon semifinals for the second time in three years. Her win against Williams made her the new, odds-on favorite to win the title and even pushed Britain’s favorite tennis player, Andy Murray, off the back pages of a couple London tabloids.

All of which means almost nothing — at least to hear Lisicki tell it.

“Match by match,” she said. “Did that from the start and will continue to do that.”

Her next opponent is No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated No. 6 Li Na 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2 in a match that took more than 3½ hours to complete and included two rain delays, an injury timeout and a final game that lasted more than 10 minutes.

The other semifinal will pit No. 15 Marion Bartoli of France against No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

Flipkens beat eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to knock the last remaining Grand Slam tournament winner out of the draw. Flipkens won her first career Grand Slam quarterfinal, continuing quite a comeback from health problems that dropped her to No. 262 last year, not even eligible for the Wimbledon qualifying tournament.

“The people believing in me, I can count on one hand,” said Flipkens, who was sidelined with blood clots in her legs. “It’s amazing.”

Bartoli eliminated the last remaining American singles player, beating Sloane Stephens 6-4, 7-5 in a match that included a 2½-hour rain delay. After the delay, Bartoli came out and won two points to secure the first set. Soon after, she was showered with boos because she had asked the umpire to stop the match in the first set when it started sprinkling on Court 1.

“I didn’t really get why the crowd was so against me at that point,” Bartoli said. “Already, the courts were a bit slippery even when it’s dry. When it’s wet, it can get dangerous. I didn’t want to stop the match for no reason. It was a precaution. I saw the crowd go against me but I’m just glad to be moving on to the semifinals.”

This is her deepest trip at a Grand Slam since the 2011 French Open and her deepest trip at Wimbledon since 2007, when she lost to Venus Williams in what remains her only Grand Slam final.

Radwanska moved one win from her second straight Wimbledon final, putting Li away on the eighth match point. Radwanska called for a medical timeout after the second set so a trainer could work on her right thigh. Up 5-2 in the third set, she called for the trainer again for a quick treatment on both legs.

Djokovic, Murray head Wimbledon cast for quarters

HOWARD FENDRICH,AP Tennis Writer

LONDON — No. 1-seeded Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Andy Murray have yet to lose a set, let alone a match, so far at Wimbledon.

The way things have been going at the All England Club this fortnight, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Rafael Nadal, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, was beaten in the first round. Roger Federer, owner of a record 17 major titles, went out in the second, as did four-time major champ Maria Sharapova. Five-time Wimbledon winner Serena Williams’ 34-match winning streak ended in the fourth round.

And on and on it’s gone, with no top-20 player other than Murray left on his side of the draw, and a record-equaling number of withdrawals or mid-match retirements because of health problems.

“Everyone was a bit on edge, a little bit uptight,” reigning U.S. Open champion Murray acknowledged, “because of what was happening with the injuries, withdrawals, upsets and stuff.”

He and Djokovic have made it all look so routine, though, heading into the men’s quarterfinals Wednesday.

On the top half of the bracket, Djokovic — a six-time Grand Slam titlist and the only remaining past Wimbledon winner — will face No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, the 2010 runner-up. No. 4 David Ferrer of Spain plays No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, the 2009 U.S. Open champion and the third man who hasn’t dropped a set through four matches.

On the bottom half, it will be Murray against 54th-ranked Fernando Verdasco of Spain, and No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz against his Davis Cup teammate and pal, 130th-ranked Lukasz Kubot, in a match between the first two Polish men to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since 1980.

“Magical,” Janowicz said.

Janowicz and Kubot will be playing in the quarterfinals at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament for the first time, as will Verdasco and del Potro. Ferrer lost at that stage last year.

The other three have much more solid Wimbledon bona fides: Murray (2012) and Berdych (2010) have been the runner-up, while Djokovic won the title in 2011.

“I feel good about myself in this moment. I think I actually play a better tennis on grass than I played two years ago, when I won this tournament,” said Djokovic, who never before had won every set he played in five previous trips to the Wimbledon quarterfinals. “For now, I’m feeling good. I’m No. 1 of the world. I have no reason to be concerned about my game.”

He is bidding to reach the semifinals for a 13th consecutive Slam, the second-longest streak in men’s tennis history, behind only Federer’s 23-semifinal run.