Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki have undoubtedly earned the right to be in the 2013 Wimbledon final.
Lisicki, the No. 23 seed this year, upset 2012 champion Serena Williams and 2012 finalist Agnieszka Radwanska en route to Saturday's match at the All England Club. Bartoli has breezed past her six opponents, defeating them all in straight sets—including promising young American Sloane Stephens.
Lisicki's performance has been especially surprising as the world No. 24. She was 20-12 coming into the tournament—good but not great.
Then again, the 23-year-old German had already reached the quarterfinals or better at Wimbledon three times in her career before 2013. That included a semifinals appearance in 2011.
As for Bartoli, the world No. 15 was just 14-12 heading into the tournament. She has also had previous success at Wimbledon, reaching the final in 2007 and the quarterfinals in 2011.
The final will pit power versus power, which should make for an electric match. Lisicki has the serve (a tournament-high 39 aces, per Wimbledon.com), while Bartoli's powerful ground strokes on the return can get the best of her foes (ranks sixth in the tournament in first-serve return points, ranks third in second-serve return points).
In the semifinals, Lisicki notched nine aces and 60 winners in the 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 victory over Radwanska, via Wimbledon.com. Against Kirsten Flipkens, Bartoli won 59 percent of return points and went 11-for-11 in net points.
So what will be the difference Saturday?
There is the fact that Lisicki is 3-1 lifetime against Bartoli. That includes a three-set victory over the French woman in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2011.
Most notably, though, is that Lisicki is dominant right now. Not taking anything away from Bartoli (whose run at the All England Club this year has been incredible), but Lisicki's victory over Williams in the fourth round was an eye-opener.
She fought power with power and beat the world No. 1 in the process. She notched 10 aces in that match, via Wimbledon.com, while posting 35 winners and shockingly getting the best of the five-time Wimbledon champ on break points.
To put it simply, Lisicki is in the zone right now, physically and mentally, and I find it hard to believe she will let this opportunity slip away Saturday.
Prediction: Lisicki 7-5, 4-6, 6-4