By Ed Osmond
MARION Bartoli overwhelmed an out of sorts Sabine Lisicki 6-1 6-4 on a sun-drenched Centre Court to win her first Wimbledon title on Saturday.
Frenchwoman Bartoli, seeded 15th, took full advantage of a desperately nervous performance by her German opponent who knocked out defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round.
Bartoli, 28, became the first French player to win a grand slam title since Amelie Mauresmo in 2006, finally breaking her major trophy drought at the 47th attempt.
“As a small girl I dreamed about this moment,” Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up, said in a courtside interview after lifting the Venus Rosewater dish.
“Finishing with an ace to win Wimbledon, even in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined that. Honestly, I cannot believe it. have practiced my serve for so long, at least I kept it for best moment!”
Lisicki, the 23rd seed, broke Bartoli’s serve in the opening game of the match but the Frenchwoman hit straight back and took advantage of 14 unforced errors by the German to secure the opening set in 31 minutes.
Lisicki’s booming serve never functioned smoothly and Bartoli, seeded 15th, kept the ball away from her dangerous forehand to move within one set of her first grand slam title.
Lisicki left the court to try to compose herself and held serve in the opening game of the second set but she wasted four break points in Bartoli’s first service game and the Frenchwoman pounced to break for a 2-1 lead.
Struggling to hold back tears, Lisicki dropped her serve again to trail 4-1 and Bartoli had three match points at 5-1.
The German bravely saved them, however, and suddenly found her form, breaking Bartoli to trail 3-5 and holding serve comfortably to raise hopes of an unlikely comeback.
But Bartoli regrouped and held serve to love, sealing her first grand slam title on her fourth match point with her sixth ace after one hour 21 minutes.
As an emotional Lisicki sat in her chair Bartoli clambered into the stands to embrace her entourage which included father and former coach Walter and Mauresmo.
“I was just overwhelmed by this whole situation,” Lisicki said. “Credit to Marion, she has been there before and she handled it perfectly.”
Bartoli’s triumph after 47 grand slam appearances beats the previous record held by Czech Jana Novotna who won Wimbledon in 1998 in what was her 45th appearance.
By Ed Osmond