Lisicki and Bartoli advance to Wimbledon final

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Updated 05 July 2013
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Lisicki and Bartoli advance to Wimbledon final

LONDON: Sabine Lisicki advanced to her first Wimbledon final a couple of hours after Marion Bartoli reached her second.
Lisicki, a 2011 semifinalist at the All England Club, beat fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 Thursday on Center Court, overpowering her opponent at the start and then hanging on at the end.
“I just fought with all my heart,” Lisicki said. “I believed that I could still win no matter what the score was.”
Bartoli took control early and never let up in a quick 6-1, 6-2 victory over Kirsten Flipkens. Bartoli also reached the Wimbledon final in 2007, losing to Venus Williams in straight sets.
Saturday’s final will be the second at Wimbledon in the 45-year Open era between two women who have never won a Grand Slam title. Lisicki has a 3-1 record against Bartoli, including a quarterfinal win at Wimbledon in 2011 in their last meeting.
Lisicki, who beat defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round, dictated play in the first set by winning 22 of her 30 points on serve and breaking once. But her serve deserted her after that. Once the second set started, Radwanska came alive and Lisicki crumbled.
Lisicki lost all four of her service games, with the lowlight coming in the final game of the second set. Leading 30-0, Lisicki lost four straight points, including two double-faults.
In the third, Lisicki was again broken early but finally held to make it 3-1 and then broke to get back on serve. Both players held serve until Lisicki got the deciding break in the 15th game when Radwanska hit a volley long.
A few minutes earlier, Radwanska had been two points from victory. The two were at 30-30 and later at deuce in the 12th game with Radwanska leading 6-5.
Lisicki said her big win over Serena Williams helped her Thursday.
“I thought, ‘I’ve done it against Serena so you can do it today as well, just hang in there,“’ Lisicki said. “It gave me so much confidence and I’m just so, so happy I was able to finish it.”
Bartoli wasted little time in her match, dancing and grunting her way to victory over the 20th-seeded Belgian who was playing in her first major semifinal.
“I played great. I executed very well. I hit lobs, passing shots, winners, returns, everything worked out perfectly,” said Bartoli, who won in 62 minutes. “When I fell on the grass after match point, it was just so emotional. I dreamed about that moment, about returning to the Wimbledon final.”
Amelie Mauresmo, the 2006 Wimbledon champion who now coaches France’s Fed Cup team, was in the stands for the early match and had plenty of praise for Bartoli.
“She just played a great match, definitely the best match of the tournament for her,” Mauresmo said. “Marion put huge pressure on her right from the beginning, first of all returning very well, serving better, which she had to do today.”
Bartoli was pumped from the start on Center Court, mixing two-handed backhands and forehands with little hops between points, as she usually does.
In the first set, she faced only one break point, nearly putting Flipkens back on serve in the third game. But despite a double-fault and a backhand into the net to eventually get behind 30-40, Bartoli dug herself out of the hole and finished the game with the first of her five aces.
“I tried my slices. She didn’t have any problem with that,” Flipkens said. “I tried the drop shot. She got it. I played a passing, she came to the net. I tried a lob. I tried everything, actually.”
Flipkens, who again took the court with her right knee taped, called for a trainer after being broken for the second straight time at the start of the second set. The trainer added tape to the knee while Bartoli sat in her chair sipping water.
Whatever she needed, it briefly worked. Flipkens, after the medical timeout, broke for the first and only time, making it 3-1. But a few minutes later Bartoli broke again and held to make it 5-1.
“First of all, I’m not going to use it as an excuse, that’s for sure. I mean, Marion played an amazing, good match,” Flipkens said. “But I fell in the first set. Straightaway I didn’t feel anything, but I fell on my bad knee. At that moment I didn’t feel it, but a couple of games later I started to feel a really sharp pain like I had four weeks ago.”
Bartoli is now 2-1 in Grand Slam semifinals with both wins at Wimbledon. Six years ago, she beat another Belgian, top-seeded Justine Henin, in the semifinals. But then she ran into Venus Williams, who that year won the fourth of her five Wimbledon titles.

On Saturday, Bartoli will be on relatively equal footing against Lisicki.
“It’s a good opportunity. She has experience at least,” Mauresmo said of Bartoli. “Maybe it’s going to help her for the final.”


‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

Updated 20 June 2018
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‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

  • A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half gave Uruguay a 1-0 win
  • Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance

ROSTOV-ON-DON: Good, but not good enough.
That was what Juan Antonio Pizzi stated as he declared himself pleased with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday night.
But he lamented his side’s lack of firepower as they exited the World Cup after just two matches.
Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance in Rostov-on-Don after losing their opening game 5-0 to hosts Russia in Moscow last week.
The Argentine got his wish with a display that saw the Green Falcons fight throughout and edge possession against a Uruguay side ranked 14th in the world.
A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half after poor goalkeeping from Mohammed Al-Owais, however, was enough to hand the Green Falcons a 12th successive World Cup defeat.
The result means that even with a win against Egypt on Monday, the Green Falcons are no longer capable of progressing to the knock-out stages from Group A.
“We had a lot of ball possession and were able to impose our style of play and distribution,” said Pizzi. “We conceded a goal from a random play and didn’t have the weapons or tools to try to equalize. We kept the ball well and weren’t really troubled defensively, but lacked that ability to score.”
Indeed, for all their possession, Saudi Arabia have managed just three shots on target in 180 minutes of football. Against Russia, they failed to muster a single effort on target and the managed just three against Uruguay, two of which came in the final minutes when they knew they had to score or face elimination. None of the three shots came from a striker.
“This is our weakness. We have good ball possession, but no effectiveness. We lack the depth and skill required to win these games,” Pizzi added. “We have that deficiency and have looked for solutions, but we haven’t quite come up with one yet. But that is one of the reasons great forward are in high demand and are the elite players in world football.”
Pizzi had made four changes ahead of the match, dropping goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf in favor of Al-Owais and introducing Ali Al-Bulayhi at the heart of the defense alongside Osama Hawsawi. Further upfield, Hattan Bahberi came in for Yahya Al-Shehri and Fahad Al-Muwallad replaced Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. The changes, particularly the inclusion of Bahberi, seemed to give the side more impetus in midfield.
“The difference between the performance in the first game and this game is enormous,” Pizzi said. “The only way to compete at this level is to play at the level we did here. And even then it was not enough even to get a draw. Undoubtedly there were other factors aside from the pressure of playing in the opening game that made a difference, but it’s true that the difference was enormous.”
Many critics had predicted a deluge of goals from the likes of Suarez and Cavani, yet both were kept at bay. Save for a couple of half-chances early on, neither came close to scoring until the 23rd minute.
A corner from Carlos Sanchez sailed into the area and when Al-Owais came for it but failed to connect with his punch, Barcelona forward Suaréz was left with the simplest of tap-ins. He was so caught off-guard, he actually looked surprised as he reeled away in celebration.
“I believe you cannot be relaxed in any match,” Suarez said when asked by a Uruguayan journalist whether he had taken it easy against the Saudis.
“We wanted to win and to progress to the knock-out stage and this game simply showed how difficult it is. That’s the World Cup for you though and we are obviously delighted with how we have performed so far to progress.”
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez did not share his striker’s sentiments.
“Saudi Arabia wanted to excel and give a better account of themselves after losing to Russia,” he said.
“They did that very well and we have to respect them. But what surprised me the most is how we played. We underperformed.”