There may not be another match like it on Centre Court for a while. Sabine Lisicki eventually came out on top in a Semi Final that neither she nor Aga Radwanska was willing to lose.
What the hell just happened? The resilience on display at Centre Court today was remarkable. Sabine Lisicki took charge of her Semi-Final with Agnieszka Radwanska early, going a set and a break up. Our odds on the German were shortening fast. This one was in the books. It was almost time to go home. Then the Pole, with all the determination of an angry drunk at last call, proved that nobody tells her when it’s time to go home. Radwanska didn’t just fight back, she brutalised the big hitting German. No-one does this to Lisicki; even Serena Williams couldn’t manage it. The second set went the way of Radwanska. Suddenly she was favourite. Then the fourth seed went for the jugular. With an early break she stormed into a 3-0 lead.
At this point we can only choose to believe that Lee Corso’s voice started ringing in Lisicki’s head. Not so fast my friend. The German was in no mood for a win over Williams being the highlight of her two weeks in SW19. Lisicki didn’t just break back, she did so twice. Now the momentum was all with her. As she stepped up to serve for the match at 5-4, her odds had moved to -833. This was surely a formality. No. No. No. Radwanska summoned up one more push to break back. There are no tie-breaks in the final set at slams. The combatants keep fighting until somebody goes down.
Thus we went through it. 6-6. 7-7. No breaks. Lisicki broke Radwanska for a third and final time in the set. It was enough. The German held her serve and took the match. Her reward is a place in her first grand slam final. On Saturday, after a well-earned recovery day, Lisicki will be well-backed in our book and the favourite with the crowd. She takes on Marion Bartoli of France. Lisicki holds a commanding lead in their career head to heads, 3-1, but this is another stage. Bartoli plays a style that would, at its kindest, be described as awful to watch. The Frenchwoman however is a fighter. Lisicki knows that if she gets a lead like she held against Radwanska today, she will have to keep pressing until the end. There’s no clock in Tennis. On Saturday there will only be Game, Set, and the Championship.