Monday, July 01, 2013

2013 WIMBLEDON: Shock! Lisicki Ends Serena's Win Streak At 34!

In the ongoing improbable saga of the most wide-open Wimbledon in a decade, Sabin Lisicki of Germany ousted 5-time Wimbledon champion and World #1 Serena Williams in the 4th round, 6-2 1-6 6-4. Lisicki is always a dangerous opponent at Wimbledon, and astonishingly, she has now defeated four consecutive reigning French Open champion the last four times she has played this tournament (2009 d. Svetlana Kuznetsova, 2010 Lisicki did not play, 2011 d. Li Na, 2012 d. Maria Sharapova, 2013 d. S. Williams). Serena last lost at Wimbledon to Marion Bartoli in the same round two years ago.

Serena started off the match pretty well, earning four break points early but they were all erased by good serving by Sabine who is known by her nickname "Boom Boom." However there were clear danger signs as she had zero forehand winners for the first 30 minutes of play. Serena's play suddenly dipped precipitously and she lost four consecutive games and the set as her timing went completely away. In the second set, Serena was much more focussed and strung together a sequence of winning points and ended up winning 8 games in a row. That resulted in her winning the second set 6-1 and going up 3-0 in the third and it looked like Boom Boom was busted. But, the signs were there that she was not going away. She was consistently acing Serena (even on second serves) and ended the match with 10 aces to Serena's 7. Lisicki also outplayed Serena from the baseline, hitting 35 winners to Serena's 25 compared and 25 unforced errors to Serena's 23. What those statistics show is that the German was the more forceful factor in deciding the result of the match. Serena had chances to build on her lead at 3-1 and at 3-2 but failed to convert. Her 5 of 16 conversion rate on break points compared to Lisicki's 5 of 8 was the most important statistic of the match. It shows Boom Boom played twice as well on the big points as the World #1. Lisicki is 6-4 against Top 10 opponents at Wimbledon but has never beaten a Top 10 player when not at the grass Major.

Serena's loss was even more shocking because she was on a 34-match winning streak (just one less than the longest of this century, held by her sister Venus Williams). In fact, it was only the World #1's third loss of the year in 49 matches played. Her only other two losses were to fellow American Sloane Stephens in Australia quarterfinals and to Victoria Azarenka in the Doha final. Serena was also trying to outdo her sister's total of 5 Wimbledons and also trying to increase her total of 16 major titles, just 2 behind the 4th all-time best won by Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

Amazingly, for the second time at a a major Stephens will be the last American woman in the draw, as she reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin