Marion Bartoli easily dispatched Sabine Lisicki to capture the 2013 women's championship at Wimbledon. The triumph marks the first Grand Slam title for the 28-year-old Frenchwoman.
The disappointing result marks the end of a tremendous run by Lisicki. She navigated an extremely difficult road to the final, which included notable upset victories over top overall seed Serena Williams and No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
UPDATE: July 6 at 3:55 p.m. ET by Tim Daniels
Some controversy erupted shortly after the match when BBC Radio 5 commentator John Inverdale made comments relating to Bartoli and fellow major champion Maria Sharapova.
Nick Schwartz of USA Today provides the details:
Moments after the greatest moment of Bartoli’s career, BBC Radio 5 commentator John Inverdale posed the following question to his listeners.
"Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little ‘You’re never going to be a looker? You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight.'"
The report states Inverdale and a BBC spokesman both apologized for the remark.
---End of update---
One advantage Bartoli had was prior experience on the championship stage. She previously reached the final at Wimbledon in 2007. Even though she was dispatched by Venus Williams in straight sets (6-4, 6-1), it was a valuable chance to learn what it takes to win a major.
After dropping the opening game, Bartoli rattled off six straight to take the opening set. While she settled in and started attacking off both wings, Lisicki was going through the growing pains her counterpart did six years prior.
Nerves are always an issue heading into a championship match. That increases exponentially when the match features two players seeking their first major title, a career-defining moment to say the least.
Bartoli settled in quicker and took advantage of some uninspired play from Lisicki early. Wisely, the 23-year-old German decided to take an off-court break after the first set, realizing momentum was clearly in her opponent's favor.
Lisicki leaves the court after tough opening set. Emerges to cheers on Centre Court. What's next?— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) July 6, 2013
At first, it appeared the decision was going to pay off. She held in the opening game of the second set and had several chances to break for a 2-0 lead, which could have turned the entire match around.
How would you characterize the final?
Instead, she failed to convert, and Bartoli regained control. After surviving that service game, the No. 15 seed broke for the fourth time. It showcased the type of solid, consistent tennis she played throughout the two-week event.
Bartoli, using her unorthodox two-handed playing style off both wings, kept the pressure on Lisicki throughout. Although the German rose to the occasion plenty of times during the tournament, she wasn't able to do it in the final.
That doesn't take away from Bartoli's accomplishment. After playing in the shadows of other players for the past decade, an opportunity arose for her at Wimbledon when the top seeds kept getting knocked out (helped in part by Lisicki).
In the end, Lisicki mounted a late rally in the second set, but the return to form came a little too late. Bartoli was able to close it out on serve (6-1, 6-4), fending off an aggressive late charge.
Bartoli finished with 14 unforced errors, 11 fewer than Lisicki, and she converted five of her 13 break-point chances. It was a dominant showing from a player who didn't drop one set all tournament long.