Published July 03, 2013
LONDON (AFP) – Big-serving Sabine Lisicki faces shot-making Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in a contrasting clash of styles with a place in the Wimbledon final at stake on Thursday.
Lisicki, the 23rd seeded German who ended the reign of Serena Williams in the fourth round, finds herself in the position of title favourite.
Her previous best Grand Slam run ended in a Wimbledon semi-final defeat to Maria Sharapova in 2011.
Now Lisicki has a chance to finally reach her first major final and become the first German woman to feature in the Wimbledon title match since Steffi Graf in 1999.
She believes the experience of making the last four two years ago will prove invaluable.
"I know how it is to be in the semis. I know the different atmosphere. Everything is starting to get empty in the locker room. It is a completely different feeling," she said.
"I'm glad that I had that experience before. I feel much fresher, fitter, better than two years ago.
"I just feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I'm moving well. And having had the experience in the past, all that together helps me a lot."
Lisicki's big-serving game is perfectly suited to Wimbledon's fast grass-courts, but Radwanska will pose an especially tough test because she has been playing against the German since they were juniors.
"We didn't play for a couple of years, but it will be good challenge because we know each other since the juniors," said Radwanska, the runner-up to Williams last year.
"Actually we talked about that also not so long ago. We played some championship in the under 10 or 12s.
"It was really long time ago. Time flies, and suddenly we're here playing the semi-final of a Grand Slam. We going to fight, for sure."
Meanwhile, Kirsten Flipkens has warned Marion Bartoli that she has no intention of letting her fairytale run at Wimbledon come to an end in the day's other semi-final.
Flipkens knows she is one of the more unlikely All England Club semi-finalists in recent years, but the Belgian 20th seed is determined to make the most of her first appearance in the last four at a Grand Slam.
This time last year she was ranked a lowly 262 in the world after blood clots in her left ankle forced her to take several months off.
But her surprise quarter-final win over 2011 champion Petra Kvitova secured a semi-final showdown with French 15th seed Bartoli and provided Flipkens with a tangible reward after all her struggles.
"I've been through a lot of ups and downs throughout my career. I've had so many injuries," said the 27-year-old.
"I had a really bad back injury when I was the junior champion and all the doctors said my career would have been over normally.
"But I'm just the kind of person that doesn't like to break and I keep on fighting back every time.
"Last year I didn't get into the qualifying of Wimbledon. I was ranked 262; today I'm a semi-finalist in a Grand Slam.
"It's more than a dream. There's no words. I never expected this to happen in my life."
Bartoli was beaten by Venus Williams in the 2007 Wimbledon final.