Twentieth seed Kirsten Flipkens' loss to No. 15 Marion Bartoli in the women's Wimbledon semifinals on Thursday was extremely lopsided. Nearly nothing went right for her, including her nagging knee problem.
A three-set epic took place between Agnieszka Radwanska and 23rd-seeded Sabine Lisicki, but the No. 4 Radwanska bowed out ahead of reaching the ultimate state at the All England Club.
The year's third Grand Slam event has certainly been among the most bizarre in recent memory, and now a 15 and 23 seed will face off in the finals.
A lot has gone wrong for many of the sport's big names, but there were certain costly aspects that prevented Flipkens and Radwanska from winning their showdowns in the semis. Let's take a closer look at each match and why things went south for each player.
Note: Match statistics and information are courtesy of Wimbledon's official website.
Day 10 Scores
|Ladies' Singles Semifinals||Score|
|Marion Bartoli (15) defeats Kirsten Flipkens (20) ||6-1, 6-2|
|Sabine Lisicki (23) defeats Agnieszka Radwanska (4) ||6-4, 2-6, 9-7|
Kirsten Flipkens: Ailing Knee and Failing Serve
Bartoli hits everything two-handed, but is still able to shuffle her feet into position to get most balls. She was also playing incredibly well in the most vital match of the tournament for her.
BBC Sport captured Bartoli's celebratory back bend in reaching her second Wimbledon final—the first of which was in 2007:
Meanwhile, Flipkens was making it easy for Bartoli to do so with her lackluster serve. Flipkens hit only 49 percent of her first serves in play, and after winning at least 62 percent—and often 70-plus—of her first-serve points in previous matches, she only converted 44 percent in this one.
To be fair, though, it was difficult for Flipkens to overcome a nagging right knee problem. It was bandaged and she took a fall during the match and required medical treatment.
The Guardian's Katy Murrells pointed out just how amazing it was for her to make it here, though, because she had blood clots in both of her legs just a year ago and was ranked No. 262 in the WTA.
If her health wasn't a factor, perhaps Flipkens would have put up a better fight. However, it definitely affected her fitness, as she couldn't quite get enough on her ground strokes to thwart Bartoli's attack.
On all 11 trips to the net, Bartoli was successful, while Flipkens' 21 net attempts saw her win just eight points.
Agnieszka Radwanska: Passive Strategy
Lisicki was the aggressor to be certain. With her superior power and willingness to take risks, the German phenom smashed 60 winners and 46 unforced errors. Radwanska was more efficient in hitting 21 winners to 10 errors, but needed to be more assertive.
With the Wimbledon final at stake, the No. 4 seed was far more passive than her underdog counterpart, who threw caution to the wind and seized victory.
Radwanska is known for engaging in extended rallies and methodically picking apart opponents, but she must be more aggressive moving forward if she wants a shot at Grand Slam glory.
Who will win the women's Wimbledon final?
At one point, she needed only two points to win the match, up 6-5 in the third. Instead of being bold, she elected not to press the attack, and the chance slipped through her fingers.
The plodding style of Radwanska and her innate resilience allowed her to break Lisicki five games in a row at one point, but it was never enough to close the deal. Fittingly, Lisicki ended the extended match emphatically with a forehand winner.
It's hard to criticize Radwanska too much, because the match itself was absolutely amazing to watch. Having said that, playing a bit looser might benefit her in future marquee matches in the future.