Sharapova v Lisicki the Popcorn Match; Wimbledon Women’s Semi Previews
by Jeremy Davis | June 29th, 2011
  • 59 Comments

Here is a look at the two Thursday women’s semifinals at the All England Club in order of play:

(4) Victoria Azarenka vs. (8) Petra Kvitova


Azarenka is no Slam champion. She’s gotten this far because of the weak state of women’s tennis. She won’t win Wimbledon, but she might win this match. Remember that Kvitova got this far last year too. Kvitova has won her last two matches against the Belarussian screamer.

The lefty Kvitova doesn’t have the establishing choking background of Azarenka, and the more I’m thinking about it, the more I like her holding it together (better) in a match that will have a lot of nervy moments. I’m going with Kvitova through to the final. And Azarenka breaking a racquet or giving a very audible obscenity. Or whacking a ball into the crowd and hitting the queen or George Michael.
 
(5) Maria Sharapova vs. Sabine Lisicki
 
After the fourth round bloodbath that saw Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki exit, many in the media were prematurely handing Sharapova the Wimbledon trophy, but hold your horses. In the quarterfinals Sharapova brutalized the tiny Dominika Cibulkova, but Lisicki won’t be pushed around so easily.

This is the bigger match and the winner will be the favorite in the final. Each has a background that will drive them to not be contented with a semifinal finish at the All England Club. Sharapova came back from her potential career-ending shoulder surgery, and has (totally?) overcome some wonky serving due to subtly changing her service motion. Lisicki likewise had a number of injuries (ankle primarily) that kept her on the sidelines for a while, and it seems like she has been around a lot longer that her 21 years. Hell, Sharapova is only 24, winning Wimbledon at 17.

This match is going to come down to — wait for it — serving. Both Sharapova and Lisicki can bring the heat, and whoever does it better on that first delivery will ride the confidence wave to advance to the final. Most see Lisicki as the big underdog, but this match is a coin flip. When I flip the coin, it comes up Sharapova.

Just don’t give us the all-screamer Sharpaova vs. Azarenka final, which would set TV tennis rating back five years.


Also Check Out:
Women’s Semifinal Preview: Radwanska, Bartoli Eye Return To Wimbledon Final
Serena v Lefty, Crying Game v Slicy in Wimbledon Women’s Semis
Wimbledon Women’s Final Open Thread: Sabine Lisicki v Marion Bartoli
Lisicki Outlasts Radwanska, Will Meet Bartoli In Women’s Wimbledon Final
Fernando Verdasco Eats a Hamburger During Davis Cup 4th Set [Picture]

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get Tennis-X news FREE in your inbox every day

59 Comments for Sharapova v Lisicki the Popcorn Match; Wimbledon Women’s Semi Previews

EdgarCayce Says:

“Just don’t give us the all-screamer Sharpaova vs. Azarenka final, which would set TV tennis rating back five years.”

Hoping Kvitova and Lisicki win!

but my cards say screamers


esquilax Says:

“Just don’t give us the all-screamer Sharpaova vs. Azarenka final, which would set TV tennis rating back five years.”

We can turn the sound off. The commentrary (other than Boris) is inane anyway.

I truly pity the Wimbi-final-elite’s sitting at Centre Court with their ears bleeding under a closed roof.


grendel Says:

But you can’t turn the sound off. You need to hear the sound of the ball hitting the racket, that’s an intrinsic part of the experience. Ears as well as eyes, I’m afraid. It’s the mechanical aspect of the screaming which gets to me. The dreary, dull routine of it. Absolutely regardless of the state of play.


dari Says:

Let the blonde ambition “semen” finals begin.
I’m all in for vika, don’t care as much about the other semi. Sabine is terrific but I “know”/like Maria more.
Excited for the next two ladies rounds


Kimberly Says:

kvitova really took it to Azarenka in the first set.


Kimberly Says:

chance for Azarenka to take the lead


Kimberly Says:

kvitova wearing the skort version of the serena wimbledon outfit.


dari Says:

It’s strange for aza to be the more stable/ defensive in a match up.


Kimberly Says:

i was just thinking that myself. She looks like a counter puncher for sure here. Almost never the case.


dari Says:

Whew, kvitova error gives vika 2nd set. I wonder if vika will have the same game plan in the third. I am glad she leveled it, but I imagine kvitova will clean it up a bit in the third and vika will have to be more aggressive.
Bit nerve wracking with someone like kvitova on the other end against who you like.
Kimberly, I doubted vika on grass, but she came good!


jane Says:

Kvitova is in charge now. Was hoping for a really tight third.set.


Kimberly Says:

Azarenka needs to hold this game if she wants any chance of a comeback.


Kimberly Says:

good now break!


jane Says:

Aza should have been able to break there. The return at deuce. But Kvitova also was more aggressive when she needed to be.


Kimberly Says:

blon break chances on her serve and now misses a sitter.


Kimberly Says:

meant blown break chances on kvitova serve then missing a sitter


Kimberly Says:

kvitova making azarenka seem wozniaki-like


jane Says:

It is looking like both will take their previous slam best a step further: Kvitova her first final; Vika her first semi.

Kvitova could utterly dominate with a little more consistency and accuracy, but she is exciting to watch even now.


jane Says:

Congrats Petra!


Kimberly Says:

awww, congrats petra.

Now the nailbiter for me.

It seems Novak/Tsonga will play first based on ESPNs advertisement for the match at 7am eastern but the schedule not up?


Kimberly Says:

i think the prime viewing spot is the second and for sure they will give that to Murray I guess?


dari Says:

As sad an ending as it gets.
Congrats to kvitova and again to vika getting to her first semi. Couple more steps to go!
Kvitova absolute control of that match, didn’t think she could do that to Azarenka. Too many weapons
Alright, well, I go back and forth between a little indifference and then not liking Sabine. Not her tennis, but her. I feel like a villain saying that when everyone loves her, but she doesn’t charm me and the smile is more toothy and devilish to me than endearing as the rest of the world thinks.
I think if Maria’s serve is on she should get this. And in a clean tennis sort of mood of course.


dari Says:

really ESPN? No Thx on the tsonga match replay


Kimberly Says:

no dari i think they are talking about the novak tsonga match yes?

I never watch replays of nadals losses.

In fact, the games that the Heat would win we would stay up and watch hours of analysis etc. The games they lost (unfort) to many we angrily click the tv off and go to sleep.


jane Says:

dari, Sabine does have a toothy smile. But devilish? Hahaha. Never saw it that way.


jane Says:

Where is the TV coverage!?


Kimberly Says:

no double faults and UE fest today Maria! Keep it clean and aggresive. Uh oh, they are showing the replay.


Kimberly Says:

is NBC showing Sharapova Lisicki or is ESPN just filling time til they come on the court?


jane Says:

TSN is showing it live, but it seems to be British coverage?Different commentators. Lisicki will be hard to break. Maria will have to be careful about her own serve.


jane Says:

From headbands to visors.


jane Says:

Nervous start from Maria on her serve. : /


dari Says:

Holy moly, are they not only replaying this match, but also NOT playing the women’s semi?! Cruel


grendel Says:

Kvitova is a nightmare of a player to support. What it must be like for her coach, I cannot imagine. She simply wiped the floor with Azarenka in the first set – but, with that level of play, she would have done so with anyone in the world, maybe ever. She is simply extraordinary.

Predictably, she came down to earth in the 2nd and in fact, in comparison with herself of the first she looked ordinary. Everything was difficult. Obviously it’s nerves, she tightens horribly. If she can address that problem successfully, watch out. No one will get near her. On any surface.

Strangely, even in the 2nd set she had 14 winners (apparently) to only 1 of Azarenka’s. She’d dump some easy second serve into the net and then flash an impossible winner. Frustrating doesn’t begin to describe how it feels to watch. But in retrospect, she may have been doing herself a favour. She was keeping herself in touch, so that when it came to the 3rd the momentum was not decisively with Azarenka.

The 3rd set was much more of a fight than the first. Serving at 3-1, Kvitova was 2 break points down. She held her nerve with courage – for this is a woman with nerves alright – not to mention panache. There was one lovely 2nd serve ace.

Tracy Austin was saying things like the two players are similar, but that’s rubbish. They are both hard strikers of the ball – and there the similarity ends. There is a lovely spontaneity about Kvitova. At her best, her strokes are free flowing and just gorgeous. I can see why she has been called the female del Potro, but it’s not quite right. The fluidity of her game is most unusual. Azarenka, by contrast, seems slightly manufactured. Clearly at this level they are all gifted, but Kvitova is special. Azarenka – among the best of a tribe of players.


Kimberly Says:

not a good start at all for maria!


jane Says:

Horrible start from Maria, ugh.


Kimberly Says:

maria playing terrible :-( Im watching on fromsport. I cant even find it on television!


jane Says:

grendel, I agree. Kvitova’s game is fluid like Graf’s was, but with more sheer power. I really really like watching her. She will rule the women’s tennis world if she becomes focused, less tight, thus cutting down on errors. She has a great shot of winning this title imo.


jane Says:

Sabine likes that drop shot.


jane Says:

Ha, don’t give Sharapova a second serve. She will murder it.


grendel Says:

What’s the point of having a huge first serve which only seems to fire in fits and starts if your second serve is powder puff? Surely Lisicki should work on this second serve with her coach?


dari Says:

Haha, I said the other day that I liked Sabine second serve cause it kicks a lot and always goes in. I guess there needs to be a medium, especially with a returner like Maria


jane Says:

Maria did well to turn that set around based on her shaky start. Her man, Sasa, seems so supportive. Pictures of her watching his games and him watching her matches really show their love for each other – and of winning!


jane Says:

Lisicki is not serving well, and that is her money shot, love-40. Oh-oh time for Sabine


grendel Says:

In effect, Sharapova won that set 6-1. And yet Lisicki was within one point of going 4-0 up. Funny game, tennis.

I don’t know Lisicki’s game. Is she just being overwhelmed by the more experienced campaigner – or is she having an off day?


Kimberly Says:

re-Sasha watching Maria, i love it when kaiser watches my matches because as someone who is an also athlete with the competitive spirit you know they get it. Expecially since we play the same sport they know exactly how you feel at 40-0 or 0-40 etc.


jane Says:

grendel, maybe both. Her serve is usually fantastic, and she is hitting more errors than usual, rushing somewhat. This may be due to being overwhelmed by the occasion and Maria’s experience, but it looks a little gusty too; perhaps that is a factor.


Kimberly Says:

i think im going to have an anxiety attack. Closing the screen in will check the result in one hour. Too much. If she wins I will watch the replay.


dari Says:

congratulations to ms. maria!
i bet that feels so good to be back in a final, at wimbledon no less!
should be a good final if both ladies can keep it clean. and well, it probably will be even if they don’t!
can’t call it.
can’t call men’s semis, either, btw. but i know i’m cheering for murray and that’s about as far as ive gotten.
this is a strange order of logic, but i want to cheer for jo if he can win the whole thing. it’s impossible to know that ahead of time though ;)


jane Says:

Congrats to Sharpie!

Ova Final is set: Kvitova vs Sharapova. One headband, one visor. I braid, one ponytail.

Tough to say who will win but might Maria’s compete level and experience be enough to overcome Kvitova’s fluid but inconsistent game? I am truly not sure.


Kimberly Says:

YES!!!! Awesome for Maria to be back in a GS final! I have a beachfront cabana with a tv on Saturday if I can bear to watch the match unlike today! She is clearly back in the mix. Starting IW and Miami she really turned things around for herself!


margot Says:

OMG u gotta love Maria, 13 double faults and she wins because of her indominible spirit and her will to win. Oh yes, and her ground strokes are a tad impressive too and her ROS is brilliant, impressive getting a handle on some of those first serves.
Agree with everyone re Petra, she is really special, but I think Maria gets it, it’s that will power again. She can’t give out so many freebies though.
grendel, did see Osborne..YUK, what an oily git! Dislike him more than them all.
Ah well, at least celebs have earned (lol in some cases) rather than been merely there because of an accident of birth.


grendel Says:

Sharpie could do with rain on Saturday. Wind can play havoc with her serve. Under the roof, seems ok, dnagerous weapon in fact. The match was a bit drab, but I agree with you, margot. Sharpie’s groundies were incredibly impressive – hitting winners from the most difficult positions. And very, very consistent. The will of course is indomitable and not easily extractable from desire. Boy, she wants it. I hope Kvitova wins, and she certainly has the ability. But the Sharp is a slight favourite I’d have thought (like everyone else) – but one thing, we should get a good final for once.

What about Robert Redford – did you see him? With his youthful, floppy brown hair and face like a craggy mountainside (but still carrying echoes of the youthful charmer) – he looked to me like an emanation from a 19th century horror movie. I was pretty shocked when I saw him. I wanted my mum. Mum, why does that man look so peculiar? Hush, dear.

I differ from you on this business of accident of birth. I think most things are really. Nurture or nature, doesn’t make any difference. It’s a gloomy thought or feeling – but there it is.


margot Says:

grendel, did see Redford, but have seen him in a film not too distant, and so not so shocked by the massive wrinkles and youthful hair :) Paul McCartney also looks strange these days, must be the orange hair….
OMG nurture EVERY time!
U seem incredibly optimistic about Andy’s chances. What’s going on? A fan(atic) like me can merely tremble..


jane Says:

The liminal is true: it is both nature and nurture. Me, always stuck in the grey. Very little is black or white for me. It is horrid, and I envy people who go through life so sure. : / On the other hand, it is also rather liberating to be partying in purgatory, seeing both sides, chatting with those in heaven and hell, a marriage of heaven and hell. Oh wait, someone thought of that already….


margot Says:

jane: have you read Julian Barnes salutary short story about Heaven? It is a gem.


jane Says:

Have not margot. Will look it up as am always trawling for good short fiction. Thanks.


Super Says:

Petra Kvitova is the future #1. She also has a good chance on Sunday.


margot Says:

jane it’s called “A History of the World in 101/2 Chapters.” Some are quite brilliant and most are entertaining.


grendel Says:

“U seem incredibly optimistic about Andy’s chances. What’s going on?” I’m not sure, margot, if you are alluding to me. Actually, I expressed a certain scepticism with regard to Murray’s comments about strategy and so on. I do think Murray has the game to beat Nadal. I’m not convinced he quite believes it, though. In the crunch, in the hot moments, can he give of his best? We know Nadal will. Murray is dogged, isn’t he. The Dunkirk spirit and so on. But that was a retreat. Nadal revels in the difficult moments (so far as I can tell), positively enjoys them, gets off on them. That’s what makes him so formidable. I think Sharapova has a bit of that in her, doesn’t she? But does Murray?

Top story: Novak Djokovic: My Wrist Injury Isn't That Bad, I Will Play Madrid!
Most Recent story: Maria Sharapova Has A New Nike Ad And It Includes Boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov [Video]
  • Recent Comments
Rankings
ATP - Apr 21 WTA - Apr 21
1 Rafael Nadal1 Serena Williams
2 Novak Djokovic2 Na Li
3 Stanislas Wawrinka3 Agnieszka Radwanska
4 Roger Federer4 Victoria Azarenka
5 David Ferrer5 Simona Halep
6 Tomas Berdych6 Petra Kvitova
7 Juan Martin Del Potro7 Angelique Kerber
8 Andy Murray8 Jelena Jankovic
9 Milos Raonic9 Maria Sharapova
10 John Isner10 Dominika Cibulkova
More: Tennis T-Shirts | Tennis Twitter | Live Tennis Scores | Headlines

Copyright © 2003-2013 Tennis-X.com. All rights reserved.
This website is an independently operated source of news and information and is not affiliated with any professional organizations.