An unexpected final at Wimbledon in 2013 took place between Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki.
Back in 2007, Bartoli of France made it to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time when she reached the fourth round at her home major, the French Open. That was a mere precursor, though, as to what would happen a few weeks later when she advanced to the final at Wimbledon, shocking world No. 1 Justine Henin along the way.
Though she would have her moments at the Slams while posting consistently solid results on the WTA Tour, she had yet to replicate that feat over the next several years. That is, until Wimbledon 2013 came around.
Seeded No. 15, she bludgeoned her way through the draw behind her two-fisted groundstrokes without the loss of a set to reach the second major final of her career. In the championship match, she’d face No. 23 seed Sabine Lisicki, the hard-serving German who upset three top-15 players, including the top seed Serena Williams, on the way to her best-ever result at a Slam.
With only one Grand Slam final between them in their careers, the nerves were evident from the start. Bartoli was broken in the first game of the match, but Lisicki quickly lost that advantage as she was broken right back. Perhaps buoyed by that immediate return to a level stage, Bartoli took off from there as she won the next five games in a row to claim the opener 6-1 in 30 minutes.
Over the course of the tournament, Lisicki’s serve, her biggest weapon, had been in peak form. However, in this match, Bartoli—one of the best returners on tour—had been able to dismantle it and she quickly went up 5-1 in the second. The Frenchwoman earned two match points, but Lisicki fought them off and managed to narrow the gap to 5-4.
Serving for the championship a second time, Bartoli would not be denied: Striking an ace on match point, she claimed the first Grand Slam title of her career.
Bartoli became the first women’s player in the Open Era to win the title six years after reaching the final for the first time. Before that, Jana Novotna established the mark at five years with her 1993 final and ’98 triumph.
Lisicki became only the second German woman to reach the final in the Open Era after seven-time champion Steffi Graf.
The last Frenchwoman to win before Bartoli was Amelie Mauresmo, her coach for this tournament, in 2006.
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