Sabine Lisicki has gained a reputation of being a giant killer of sorts at the All England Club, and she furthered that reputation on Monday as she shocked world No. 1 Serena Williams in three sets to advance to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, according to Wimbledon on Twitter.
Williams was going for her 35th consecutive victory, which would have tied her sister, Venus, for the longest winning streak in women's tennis since 2000. That didn't come to fruition, and Serena will now have to wait another year to pursue her sixth Wimbledon title as well.
Lisicki was extremely emotional following the match, as she scored what was unquestionably the biggest win of her career. Her comments in the aftermath certainly confirmed that.
Perhaps Serena should have seen this one coming, as Lisicki has quite an interesting track record at Wimbledon. After beating Williams, she has now defeated the reigning French Open champion at Wimbledon on four occasions.
Serena was sluggish through the first set, as she had trouble handling Lisicki's big serve. Williams dropped a service game in the middle of the set and was never able to recover as her opponent cruised to a 6-2 advantage and moved to within one set of victory.
Williams appeared to be flummoxed in the first set, as Lisicki seemingly forced her to depart from her usual game. Serena began spraying the ball all over the court in the latter stages of the first set and had an awful string of unforced errors. She ended up with 12 unforced errors in the set, and she was truly on the ropes as Lisicki was playing great tennis.
The five-time Wimbledon titleholder displayed the heart of a champion in the second set, though, as she quickly put what happened in the first set behind her. Williams was much tidier and more focused in the second set as she broke Lisicki three times and didn't commit a single unforced error en route to taking the set 6-1 and evening the match.
Lisicki looked like the more nervous player in the second set, as she committed eight unforced errors and couldn't solve Williams' serve. Lisicki is no pushover at Wimbledon, as she reached the semifinals at the All England Club in 2011 and has traditionally played great tennis on grass. Williams simply outclassed the German in the second set, though, and it seemed like a sign of things to come.
However, Lisicki shocked the tennis world in the third set.
Serena capitalized on the positive momentum early in the third. After taking the opening service game, Williams and Lisicki engaged in a battle during Lisicki's first service game of the set. Serena was the beneficiary of a little luck, as her shot hit the tape and trickled over the net when Lisicki had a game point. To Williams' credit, though, she took advantage of that break and earned a break of her own.
Lisicki battled back, however, and refused to lay down for the 31-year-old American. Williams led Lisicki 3-0 in the third set and seemed poised to steamroll her way to victory, but something suddenly clicked for the No. 23 seeded German. She went on a roll and somehow managed to break Williams three times in the decisive third set.
The 23-year-old Lisicki won six of the match's final seven games, which seemed like a virtual impossibility after what Williams did in the second set and early in the third.
Lisicki will face Estonia's Kaia Kanepi in the quarterfinals, as Kanepi eliminated British favorite Laura Robson on Monday. While Kanepi possesses similar power to Lisicki, there is no question that the German will be favored in the quarterfinal match. Lisicki has had a ton of success at Wimbledon, as she eliminated both Li Na and Maria Sharapova in 2011 and she can now add Serena Williams to her list of victims at the All England Club.
With Williams, Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka all eliminated, the ladies' draw is suddenly wide open at Wimbledon. The likes of Li and Agnieszka Radwanska are names to watch moving forward, but based on the way Lisicki played on Monday, it can be argued that she is the favorite to win it all.
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