Sabine Lisicki came through another epic clash to secure her place in the Wimbledon 2013 women’s singles final.
The German put on an erratic display against last year’s beaten finalist Agnieszka Radwanska but eventually found her game when it mattered most win 6-4 2-6 9-7 in a match that lasted nearly two-and-a-half-hours.
Despite the Pole being the highest ranked player left in the draw at number four, Lisicki was the favourite coming into the match after her amazing win over defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round.
Early in the match was a nervy time and both players looked as though they didn’t want to take too many risks, but that was never going to last long with Lisicki around.
The 23rd seed attacked in the seventh game and got a nice slice of fortune with a net cord just as Radwanska was covering a passing shot down the line, forcing the error and getting the crucial first break.
Serving for the set was not easy, however, and she had to save a break point before sealing it.
Lisicki was understandably buoyed by wining the first set, breaking again in the first game of the second set, but Radwanska is incredibly strong mentally and rose to the challenge being laid down.
She broke back immediately and again as the errors started to creep into Lisicki’s game, but she still had enough to break back and level before it really went AWOL.
A lack of first serves was compounded by the stack of unforced errors piling up from Lisicki and Radwanska took full advantage by moving her opponent around the court and cruising to the second set.
It was three games into the decider before the German got her radar working again, hitting a delightful whipped cross-court winner to take back the break she had given up in the second game.
Lisicki broke again in the ninth game and stepped up to serve for the match, but Radwanske could not be shaken off, her relentlessly accurate and consistent ground strokes putting pressure on her opponent when nerves were jangling.
It worked because the Pole broke back and the final set rumbled on until Lisicki was given another chance to serve for the match after a Radwanska volley went long to make 7-8.
The Centre Court crowd have really taken to Lisicki’s smiling, heart-on-sleeve attitude and they roared when she sent a forehand winner down the line to make her first ever Grand Slam final.
Marion Bartoli waits for her in Saturday’s showdown after the 15th seed dismantled Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 6-2 in the other semi-final.
Lisicki will be the favourite once again but the Frenchwoman was in supreme form and will be desperate to rectify her failure in 2007.