WIMBLEDON, England — Marion Bartoli said she took a nap shortly before playing her semifinal match against Kirsten Flipkens. Whatever dreams the lady from France had could not have been as good as the reality of her performance Thursday on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.
Bartoli, seeded 15th, pulverized Flipkens’ soft slices time after time in a 6-1, 6-2 trouncing of the 20th-ranked Belgian that took merely 62 minutes. Bartoli will advance to Saturday’s final against the winner of the second semifinal between No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and No. 23 Sabine Lisicki of Germany.
Bartoli, 28, was the runner-up to Venus Williams in the 2007 Wimbledon final. By clinching a return trip she became the seventh player seeded outside of the top 10 to reach the final.
After clinching the victory on her second match point, Bartoli fell to her knees on the grass, drinking in the crowd’s applause. She hugged Flipkens, who had been hobbled by an injured right knee and had required treatment after Bartoli gained a second break and took a 3-0 lead in the second set.
“I just really can’t believe it right now. I played so well today,” Bartoli, who has not lost a set in this year’s tournament, said in a TV interview after the match.
“I just wanted to again congratulate her. I think maybe she was a bit injured today but she deserves all the credit. I wanted to give her a hug today because it must be difficult to be injured in the semifinals of Wimbledon. I respect her.”
Bartoli, who hits with two hands from both sides, broke Flipkens in the second game of the first set and again in the fifth game. She won the first set with an ace.
Bartoli broke Flipkens again in the first and third games of the second set to take a 3-0 lead. Fans sympathizing with Flipkens cheered her and yelled, “Come on, Flipper,” but Bartoli was simply too strong and efficient.
Flipkens made one last stand, breaking Bartoli in the fourth game of the second set, but Bartoli would not be stopped. She broke back for a 4-1 lead and won the sixth game at love. Flipkens held to cut Bartoli’s lead to 5-2 but Bartoli powered to the win.
Bartoli had five aces and three double faults. She converted five of seven break points in the match and had 23 winners to 10 unforced errors. Flipkens converted one of two break points.
“I was hitting the ball so cleanly from the start. She played a lot of slices so I had to be sharp on my footwork,” Bartoli said.
“It’s a wonderful memory this Wimbledon so far. I’m just so pleased.”
Looking at potential final head-to-head matchups, Bartoli is 0-7 against Radwanska, who lost in the final last year to Serena Williams, and 1-3 vs. Lisicki.
ALSO:Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun