Bartoli Blisters Henin, Faces Venus in Wimbledon Final

Posted on July 7, 2007

Chunky Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli has never even cracked the Top 15 on the WTA Tour Rankings, but that didn't stop the 22-year-old from orchestrating the biggest upset of the year Friday at Wimbledon, defeating world No. 1 Justine Henin 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 to gain the final at Wimbledon.

Bartoli, who crushes the ball with two hands on both her forehand and backhand, hit a hot streak after Henin relaxed up a set and a break, then never looked back in overpowering the Belgian who was again denied a shot at a first Wimbledon championship.

"I still don't really realize what did happen," Henin said. "I played a very good first set, then I had a couple of chances at the end of the second set. Didn't take these chances and the match completely turned over."

Bartoli had never been past the 4th round in 22 Grand Slam appearances, with a 4-4 Wimbledon win-loss entering this year's event.

"I'm so excited to be in the final, it's a dream come true," Bartoli said. "I was so stressed in the first set because it was my first time on Centre Court but then I just forgot about who I was playing and played the ball."

Henin attributed the loss, easily the biggest upset thus far in 2007, to a mental breakdown.

"I'm not quite sure it's a question of pressure about winning here," Henin said. "You know, I lost a lot of energy in the last few weeks. My match against Serena [Williams] also has been very tough mentally, emotionally. It was hard for me to be at my best today."

Henin, for the record, won the first set in 22 minutes before she found it hard to be at her best.

In the final Bartoli will face No. 23 seed Venus Williams, who overpowered No. 6 Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-4.

"I've been counted out so many times," said Williams of her low seeding and injuries this year. "And it's okay with me. I've been unlucky with injuries. That happens. But I think that I've had a little spell now where I felt good. I've had a chance to get ready. It's all coming together."

It will be the first career meeting between Venus Williams and Bartoli, and for NBC perhaps a short "Breakfast at Wimbledon" where viewers will be wise to eat fast if they want to get a meal in before the trophy-raising ceremony.