Marion Bartoli had been in this position once before.
It took her six years to get back, but her second appearance in the Wimbledon final was a much more blissful occasion.
The 15th-seeded Bartoli claimed her first Grand Slam crown with a 6-1, 6-4 win over 23rd-seeded Sabine Lisicki on Saturday at the All England Club.
The title match on Centre Court featured two unlikely participants following a series of dramatic upsets throughout this fortnight.
Bartoli was the runner-up to Venus Williams in 2007, winning just five games in her only other appearance in a Grand Slam final.
"I dreamed about this moment for so long," Bartoli said in an on-court interview after the match. "I know how it feels Sabine and I'm sure, believe me, you will be there one more time. I have no doubt about it."
The 28-year-old Bartoli became the first Frenchwoman to win a major singles title since Amelie Mauresmo's 2006 triumph here, the first woman in the Open Era to win Wimbledon without facing a Top 10 seeded opponent and the sixth player in the Open Era to secure the title at Wimbledon without dropping a set.
Bartoli took six straight games after being broken to open the match. She fought off two break points before consecutive double faults put her in an early hole.
Lisicki committed 14 of her 25 unforced errors in a nightmarish first set and didn't hold serve until the first game of the second set. She had a chance to build momentum, but failed to convert four break points in the next game.
Bartoli fought through the lengthy service game to hold, then broke Lisicki two more times on her way to a comfortable 5-1 advantage.
Despite the score, it was hard to count Lisicki out. The road she took to reach her first Grand Slam singles final was much more arduous than Bartoli's. The 23-year-old German defeated a trio of former major champions (Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur and Serena Williams) and twice fell behind 3-0 in a third set before battling back to stun Williams in the fourth round and upset 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals.
That fighting spirit was on display again as Lisicki saved three championship points with just her second hold. She then consolidated a break with an easy hold, but there would be no comeback this time as Bartoli wrapped up a love service and the match with an ace.
"I've been practicing my serve for so long. At least I saved it for the best moment," Bartoli said jokingly.
Bartoli competed in her 47th Grand Slam tournament, the most in the Open Era before finally breaking through and winning a title. Her best previous result this year were quarterfinal appearances in Shenzhen, Paris and Dubai. She captured her eighth career title and first since 2011.
Lisicki fired six aces and held a 21-15 advantage in winners, but racked up 11 more unforced errors than her opponent.
"I think I was just overwhelmed by the whole situation," a tearful Lisicki said during the trophy presentation. "Credit to Marion. She's been in that situation before and she handled it perfectly."
Lisicki also was a runner-up at Pattaya City and Memphis this year and fell to 3-5 in title matches for her career.