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Women's finalists vying for first Grand Slam title

Lisicki holds 3-1 edge over Bartoli in previous matches

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Sabine Lisicki rejoices after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in their singles semifinal match Thursday.

KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Sabine Lisicki rejoices after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in their singles semifinal match Thursday.

LONDON -- Sabine Lisicki advanced to her first Wimbledon final a couple of hours after Marion Bartoli reached her second.

Lisicki, a 2011 semifinalist at the All England Club, beat fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 Thursday on Centre Court, overpowering her opponent at the start and then hanging on despite trailing 3-0 at the end.

"I go out there to win," said Lisicki, the first German to reach the Wimbledon final since Steffi Graf in 1999. "I fight for every single point and I still enjoy the game, so I think those are the main parts why I won today."

Bartoli took control early and never let up in a quick 6-1, 6-2 victory over Kirsten Flipkens. She also reached the Wimbledon final in 2007, losing to Venus Williams in straight sets.

Saturday's final will be the second at Wimbledon in the 45-year Open era between two women who have never won a Grand Slam title. Lisicki may have the edge in that match with a 3-1 record against Bartoli, including a quarter-final win at Wimbledon in 2011 in their last meeting.

Lisicki, who beat defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round, dictated play in the first set by winning 22 of her 30 points on serve and breaking once. But her serve deserted her after that.

Once the second set started, Radwanska came alive and Lisicki crumpled.

Lisicki lost all four of her service games, with the lowlight coming in the final game of the second set. Leading 30-0, Lisicki lost four straight points, including two double-faults.

"She made some really good points. I made a few errors too many," Lisicki said. "But I regained my focus and game in the third set."

In the third, Lisicki was again broken early but finally held to make it 3-1 and then broke to get back on serve. Both players held serve until Lisicki got the deciding break in the 15th game when Radwanska hit a volley long.

"It's just one break," Radwanska said. "She was serving very well. So the one break on one side was a lot, and on other hand was not really."

A few minutes earlier, Radwanska had been two points from victory. The two were tied at 30-30 and later at deuce in the 12th game with Radwanska leading 6-5.

"I had a lot of chances. Just two points from the match," Radwanska said. "Then she serve second serve like 100 miles per hour. Then, you know, it just turned the other way."

Lisicki said her big win over Serena Williams helped her Thursday.

"I thought, 'I've done it against Serena so you can do it today as well, just hang in there,' " Lisicki said. "It gave me so much confidence and I'm just so, so happy I was able to finish it."

Bartoli wasted little time in her match, grunting her way to victory over the 20th-seeded Belgianl.

"I played great. I executed very well. I hit lobs, passing shots, winners, returns, everything worked out perfectly," said Bartoli, who won in 62 minutes. "When I fell on the grass after match point, it was just so emotional. I dreamed about that moment, about returning to the Wimbledon final."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2013 C7

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