Wimbledon 2013 Women's Semifinals: Bartoli vs. Flipkens Preview and Prediction
The upcoming Marion Bartoli and Kirsten Flipkens semifinal is far from the Wimbledon match we expected to see.
The 15th and 20th ranked players in the world, respectively, have gotten to this stage by playing immaculate tennis and capitalizing on other top seeds' exits.
Neither of these players has dropped more than one set en route to the semis, and this matchup will be a tough one on both sides.
Who will be the better player? Who will earn a berth in the women's final? Let's break it down.
Who Has the Historic Edge?
The good and bad news for both of these women is that they have never played one another before.
Usually semifinal opponents are rivals or at least familiar faces. This concept could help Kirsten Flipkens, though she has been around long enough for Bartoli to have seen her style of play.
In terms of past history at Wimbledon Marion Bartoli should be viewed as the favorite by a long shot. She was a finalist against Venus Williams in 2007.
And in terms of previous Major results Bartoli takes the cake again. This will be her third Slam semifinal appearance, and she has been to the quarterfinals or better in each of the four tournaments.
This week marked Flipkens' first Major quarterfinal and semifinal, but she has earned her spot in the final four.
How Bartoli Has Looked so Far at Wimbledon
Bartoli has not just looked spectacular these two weeks—she has looked the best of all the 128 competitors.
Though she only faced one seeded player (Sloane Stephens, who is ranked slightly lower than her) so far, her form has been brilliant. Also Flipkens would normally not even be a seeded player, but she has been having a great year herself.
Not only has the French No. 1 not dropped a set this entire tournament but she hasn't even been stretched to a single tiebreak.
She has played four 7-5 sets, though, which could help Flipkens to know that the chance is there.
This run, along with her 2011 French Open venture, have been her best performances ever in my eyes.
How Flipkens Has Looked so Far at Wimbledon
Kirsten Flipkens looked great even before reaching the quarterfinals, and now she has a chance to participate in the final.
The only set she dropped this fortnight was the opening set against Petra Kvitova in her last match.
Her storming-back-from-a-set-down in the quarterfinal match was an unusual sight to see, but she wore her opponent down and was very protective of hitting any unforced errors.
That was her first big upset at Wimbledon but it proved that she has what it takes to beat the woman currently ranked five spots higher than her.
Biggest X-Factors in the Semifinal
Weather - Flipkens knows what it is like to play under the Centre Court roof at Wimbledon. She is used to the atmosphere around the indoor stadium and how the lights may or may not affect play. Because she played her last match in this environment due to rainy conditions, she could have an edge.
Experience - Flipkens has much less experience (and career prize money, which could be a motivator) than her opponent but has not been fazed by that yet. Bartoli has been in the final here before and has posted other big Wimbledon wins in her career. This is the perfect court for her to win her first Major title, if she is to do so.
Playing style - Bartoli swings with two hangs on both sides and plays flat, hard balls in nearly every point. Flipkens has a somewhat dull game and much less power, but her backhand slice could work wonders for her against Bartoli's also unusual game.
Bartoli Will Win If...
She will win if she sticks to her game plan and moves her opponent around the court as often as possible.
She needs to dictate with her backhand and forehand while holding serve to the best of her ability.
Her return of serve is very good, so she should hope for another good day at the office.
Bartoli's movement may not be as good as Flipken's, so she should do a lot of explosive training prior to the semifinal showdown.
Flipkens Will Win If...
Flipkens can trouble Bartoli by getting many balls back in play, keeping her unforced errors count down and chipping away with the backhand.
If she keeps balls low and allows them to skid off the grass and court lines Bartoli, she might have more trouble generating pace, getting in position or being consistent.
The Belgian player also has a knack for spot-serving, so she needs to feel comfortable serving on Thursday.
The main thing she needs to do is realize that this opportunity could be a once-in-a-lifetime deal. She shocked the world (and herself) by upsetting Petra Kvitova but needs to ignore that for her next round.
If she loses a set to Bartoli, she needs to erase it from her short-term memory and focus on getting to the finish line first.
Though Kirsten Flipkens has a few shots that could match up well against Marion Bartoli, I do not think this one will be too much of a contest.
Bartoli is the better player overall, especially at Wimbledon, and has been even more dominant for the last five matches.
Maybe Flipkens could try to extend a set to a tiebreak but the odds of her taking two sets are slim.
I say Bartoli wins in straight sets, with one of those sets being fairly close, to make her way back to another Wimbledon final.
To be more specific, I will go with a scoreline prediction of 7-5, 6-3.