When Sabine Lisicki upset Serena Williams in the round of 16 at Wimbledon, it became abundantly clear that this year's tournament would be unlike any other in recent memory. That was confirmed on Saturday as France's Marion Bartoli defeated Lisicki 6-1, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final to win the first Grand Slam of her career, according to Wimbledon on Twitter:
Bartoli has been a competitive player on tour for a very long time, and she even managed to reach the Wimbledon final back in 2007.
With that said, she is normally a player who reaches the quarterfinals of Grand Slam tournaments before ultimately bowing out to more talented stars. That wasn't the case at the All England Club this year, though, as she did what she had to do in order to come out on top.
Some may dismiss Bartoli's win as a fluke, as the best seed she had to eliminate was No. 17 Sloane Stephens, but she earned the title. Here is how Bartoli's improbable championship at Wimbledon will impact the state of women's tennis moving forward.
Unpredictability Is Back
The big knock on women's tennis over the past year, especially, has been a lack of unpredictability.
Serena Williams dominated from Wimbledon last year through this year's French Open. She won three out of the four Grand Slams during that time, as well as an Olympic gold medal. Her loss to Lisicki this year really opened things up, though, as did Maria Sharapova's early elimination and Victoria Azarenka's withdrawal.
That gave plenty of unheralded ladies a chance to truly break through.
Bartoli and Lisicki took the opportunity and ran with it more than anyone else, but there were others who impressed as well. Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska has always been a bridesmaid and never a bride, as she is perpetually stuck behind Williams, Sharapova and Azarenka in the rankings. She came painfully close to reaching the Wimbledon final, and she figures to be a factor moving forward.
Also, veteran Belgian player Kirsten Flipkens had the tournament of her life, as she reached the semifinals before being ousted by Bartoli.
Nobody could have possibly predicted the path that this tournament ultimately took, and that is a good thing for women's tennis. As great as it was to witness Serena's dominance, fans were understandably getting a bit bored.
Now, they're fully aware that there are no longer any guarantees in women's tennis.
Another Contender Has Emerged
Most tennis fans enter each major tournament expecting one of Serena, Sharapova or Azarenka to come away victorious. The same can be said on the men's side with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Roger Federer. David Ferrer took advantage of the hand he was dealt at the French Open and reached the final. That allowed him to inch closer to the Big Four on the men's side.
Perhaps, Bartoli and Lisicki did something similar in the women's game thanks to their incredible showing at Wimbledon.
While both Bartoli and Lisicki thrive on grass, there is no reason why their respective games can't translate to other surfaces. Bartoli has had success at Grand Slams other than Wimbledon, as she reached the semis at Roland Garros and has gotten as far as the quarters at the U.S. Open and Australian Open.
Perhaps, the one thing that she was missing was the confidence to get over the hump. There is no doubt that she has plenty of confidence now after reigning supreme at Wimbledon.
Bartoli probably doesn't have a ton of time left in terms of playing at a high level at 28 years of age, although Serena has certainly put that theory to the test in recent years. The hope is that she capitalizes on this Wimbledon title and becomes a threat at each and every Grand Slam.
She has always had the game necessary to compete with the top players, and she has to believe that she can do it as well.
Different Styles Can Have Success
It is no coincidence that the top three players in the women's game are arguably the three most powerful players as well. Women's tennis has become more about power and less about attributes such as movement and finesse over the past few years.
Bartoli has quite a bit of power, as she is capable of cracking serves that exceed 100 mph, but that isn't the entirety of her style. She is a very unorthodox and creative player as well. Some might even call her crafty, which is a big reason why she had so much success in this tournament.
Hopefully, Bartoli's Wimbledon win empowers players who don't necessarily possess Serena or Sharapova-esque power in their own right.
Radwanska is a player who really showed what she can do despite having very little power, so maybe more up-and-coming players will emulate that style as well. Women's tennis used to be more competitive because there were so many differing styles.
That is something that needs to make a comeback.
It's possible that Bartoli's Wimbledon title will ultimately be looked upon as a one-off win like Francesca Schiavone's French Open title a couple of years ago, but Bartoli seems to have more staying power. Her style can work on hard courts in addition to grass courts, so maybe she is just now reaching the prime of her career.
Whatever the case, women's tennis suddenly got much more exciting.
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