Marion Bartoli wins Wimbledon women's crown
WIMBLEDON England -- It was a mismatch more than a match, a women's final that given all that happened during a strange, bewildering Wimbledon turned out be perfectly imperfect and painfully one-sided.
Marion Bartoli is a champion with a past here, having returned to the All England finals six years after a one-sided defeat, and on a warm Saturday afternoon inflicted her own one-sided defeat on an overwhelmed Sabine Lisicki, 6-1, 6-4. In reverse order those were the same scores Venus Williams defeated Bartoli in the 2007 final.
Yesterday it was all Bartoli. Lisicki was simply mortified. She lost six straight games to end the first set, and she dropped five straight to fall behind, 5-1 in second.
"I was just overwhelmed by the whole situation," said Lisicki, a 23-year-old German who was seeded 23rd..
"But credit to Marion," Lisicki said. "She's been there before and handled it well."
And handled it with her usual quirkiness.
"It's always been a part of my personality to be different," said Bartoli, who never lost a set in seven matches.
Ever since she was a kid, practicing until midnight with her father, Marion Bartoli went about playing tennis her own way.
The two-handed strokes for backhands, forehands, even volleys. The hopping in place and practice swings between points, which help her focus. The unusual setup for serves -- no ball-bouncing, arms crossed, right wrist resting on her left thumb before the toss.
And nothing seems to faze her. She hadn't gotten past the quarterfinals of any tournament this year before Wimbledon. She dropped her opening serve against Lisicki with back-to-back double faults.
"Well, that's me," said Bartoli, who was born in France but is now based in Switzerland.
As the 15th seed, Bartoli is the first player to win Wimbledon without facing anybody seeded in the top 10.
Lisicki rallied in the third set of her fourth-round match to eliminate defending champion Serena Williams. But Saturday, in a tournament that had lost Serena, No. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka and No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova within four rounds, Lisicki was flat.
"You know," said Lisicki, "I tried everything. Mentally and physically I wasn't at 100 percent."
Bartoli was. "I think," Bartoli offered, "after the match you can say it really helped me being there before. But today I really felt I was playing probably my best match of the championship. I was doing everything well. I was returning well. I mean I played a wonderful match."
Lisicki made that point, even though she didn't make many points on her serve.
"It's not like she played a terrible match and won," Lisicki said. "I was a bit sad that I couldn't perform the way I can."
Bartoli, who celebrated by falling backward and doing the splits, had shifted away from coaching by her father, Walter, to join up with Amelie Mauresmo, the 2006 Wimbledon champion from France. She was part of the Bartoli entourage in the friends' box at Centre Court.
After Lisicki closed to 5-4 in the second set, Bartoli steadied, then ended things with an ace.
"Just to win Wimbledon on an ace, and you saw the chalk come out of the line. I mean, I could have seen it in slow motion," said Bartoli. "You cannot describe the feeling. You cannot put any words what I feel at this moment."