Lisicki backs up win over Serena in quarters; Li loses to Radwanska

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 /by
AP Photo
AP Photo

LONDON -- If Sabine Lisicki had a letdown after defeating Serena Williams, it didn't show.

If Lisicki is penciling herself into the Wimbledon final, she isn't saying.

Showing no drop-off after her dramatic victory over Williams, the 23rd-seeded Lisicki returned Tuesday and made quick work of a much less intimidating opponent, 46th-ranked Kaia Kanepi, dispatching her 6-3, 6-3 in 65 minutes to advance to her second career Wimbledon semifinal.

"I was ready today," Lisicki said. "I knew from the past, out of experience, that I needed to make the switch quickly to be ready, and that's what I did."

Indeed. Lisicki opened the match by breaking Kanepi's serve in the first game and didn't look back in that set. In the second, she had one hiccup -- a game in which she double-faulted three times to drop a break and fall behind 2-1. She broke back right away, however, and won four of the next five games to close out the match.

Now, the 23-year-old German finds herself in the Wimbledon semifinals for the second time in three years. Her win against Williams made her the new, odds-on favorite to win the title and even pushed Britain's favorite tennis player, Andy Murray, off the back pages of a couple London tabloids.

All of which means almost nothing -- at least to hear Lisicki tell it.

"Match by match," she said. "Did that from the start and will continue to do that."

Her next opponent is No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated No. 6 Li Na 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2 in a match that took more than 3½ hours to complete and included two rain delays, an injury timeout and a final game that lasted more than 10 minutes.

Radwanska moved one win from her second straight Wimbledon final, putting Li away on the eighth match point. Radwanska called for a medical timeout after the second set so a trainer could work on her right thigh. Up 5-2 in the third set, she called for the trainer again for a quick treatment on both legs.

"If it's the end of a Grand Slam you don't really think about the pain or anything else," Radwanska said. "You just fight until the end. That's what I was doing today."

With Radwanska advancing, Poland is guaranteed a semifinalist in both the men's and women's draws. On Wednesday, Jerzy Janowicz plays Lukasz Kubot in an all-Polish men's quarterfinal.

"I kind of started it," said Radwanska, who last year became the first Polish woman to reach a Grand Slam final since 1939, before falling to Williams. "It's great to have, now, the guys doing very, very well. Especially Jerzy. He's a young, great, upcoming player. I believe he's also going to be top-10. This is, for sure, not his last quarterfinal of a Grand Slam."

Taking the court after Li and Radwanska finished were 20th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens and eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova. Kvitova, the 2011 champion at the All England Club, has a 19-2 Wimbledon record since the start of the 2010 tournament. Both her losses came to Williams, in the 2010 semifinals and 2012 quarterfinals, and Williams went on to win both times. They split the first two sets, and after the second set, Kvitova called for a trainer, who came to the court and took her temperature.

The winner of the Kvitova-Flipkens match will play either No. 15 Marion Bartoli or No. 17 Sloane Stephens, who endured a rain delay of more than an hour late in the first set. When they resumed, Bartoli won two quick points to capture the set.

Lisicki had the luxury of sitting back and watching all that action unfold. Her match against Kanepi was nowhere near as grueling as the emotion-packed upset over Williams the previous day.

"It was a different matchup," Lisicki said. "I was just as focused as yesterday because I knew it's going to be tough after yesterday's match to just keep the level up. But I think I did a very good job to go for my shots and play smart. It had to be a different game today."

It was.

Whereas Lisicki was forced to match Williams' power, she played more of a finesse game against Kanepi. Six of her 23 winners against Kanepi came off drop shots and Lisicki needed only two aces (compared with 10 against Williams in their three-set match) to defeat her Estonian opponent.

Kanepi, who advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Britain's Laura Robson, said she couldn't match her play from that victory. She had 13 winners and 23 unforced errors against Lisicki and fell to 0-5 in Grand Slam quarterfinals.

"I thought (when) I tried to attack in previous matches, I hit winners and did well, but today I was missing a lot," Kanepi said. "But on grass there is no Plan B. I just have to go for my shots. If there is a ball, I have to hit it."

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