For the first time in the Open Era not one single Grand Slam champion has reached the women’s Wimbledon semifinals. After 10 days of upsets and intrigue still standing on the hallowed lawns are Agnieszka Radwanska, Marion Bartoli, Kirsten Flipkens and Sabine Lisicki.
In the first semifinal Bartoli seeks a return trip to the Wimbledon final. The 28-year-old hasn’t lost a set through the quarterfinals, trouncing Americans Christina McHale and Sloane Stephens and a bunch of no names. But the oddly alluring Frenchwoman was a finalist in 2007 and despite her rotund physique she’s the favorite to reach the final in this one.
Her opponent in this first time meeting is the resurgent Flipkens. The Belgian was ranked down at No. 262 last June after a bout with blood clots in her calf left her career in doubt. Now she’s at a career high No. 20 and will move even higher on Monday in the new rankings. Flipkens won the Wimbledon juniors 10 years ago just stunned the former 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Tuesday and now is out for more.
“I never expected this to happen in my life,” said Flipkens. “I mean, it was already a great performance that I managed to get into the fourth round I think in the Australian Open this year. Yeah, being in the semifinals of a Grand Slam, of the biggest tournament throughout the year, yeah, it has no words. As I said, I never expected I would be able to come and get this far, so far.”
Flipkens follows the lineage of other Belgian greats Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters. To reach their status she’ll have to first beat Bartoli, and unknown quantity to the 27-year-old.
“I never played Marion, so I really have no idea,” Flipkens said. “I never played her, as I said, so I don’t really know what to expect.
“I only know she has a two‑handed forehand and backhand. That’s about it.”
In the second semi, 2012 finalist Agnieszka Radwanksa clashes with Lisicki. The German Lisicki earlier in the week scored one of the biggest upsets of the year, defeating Serena Williams from 0-3 down in the third set. Lisicki, though, is no stranger to Wimbledon success. She’s beaten the last four French Open winners at the tournament and she reached the semi just two years ago.
In this match, the two have split sets with the Pole winning last year in Dubai.
“I think we didn’t play for couple years I think now,” Radwanska said. “And I think we didn’t play on grass yet. So I think, you know, will be good challenge. We know each other since the juniors tournaments, so, you know, is always a good challenge to play someone like Sabine ‑ especially this is a semifinal of a Grand Slam. Well, we going to fight, for sure.”
Regardless of winner, there will be a first-time Grand Slam champion crowned on Saturday. But who will it be?
THURSDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
Centre Court 1.00pm Start Time
Marion Bartoli (FRA) v. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)
Sabine Lisicki (GER) v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
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