Monday, July 1, 2013

Is Sabine Lisicki's win over Serena Williams this Year's Biggest Upset at Wimbledon?

(July 1, 2013)--It has been a fortnight full up upsets at Wimbledon, and the shockers kept on coming today as Sabine Lisicki took out five-time and reigning Wimbledon champion Serena Williams 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in what has to be the most entertaining match of the tournament thus far.

But was it the biggest upset?

Today there was some inspired debate in the ESPN studio about that very subject.

"Of all the upsets in this tournament--of Nadal losing, of Federer losing--to me this was the grandest of them all," said Brad Gilbert. "Just by the way Serena was playing. Federer was a seven-time champion but he came in third favorite like an 8 to 1 [odds]. Serena was 1 to 4 to win this tourmanent on her best surface. To me, the way she lost, at 3-0 in the third set you could have written her into the draw, at 4-2 in the third set you could have written her in the draw."

"Not very often you will say Serena looked like she almost played not to lose," Gilbert added. "She played tentative in that third set and full credit to Sabine Lisicki who played aggressive in the first and took her chances in the third. Even when it was over you were surprised the umpire was saying 'Game, set and match Boom Boom Lisicki.' "

Mary Joe Fernandez, meanwhile, politely disagreed. "It was a big surprise, I don't think it was bigger than Federer [or Nadal] going out because the credentials that came on to this court are much higher than the ones that took out Nadal and Federer," she said. "She has knocked out the French Open champion here now FOUR times. She is a quality player and we knew this was going to be the biggest test for Serena."

Fernandez did acknowledge that she didn't expect Lisicki to pull it off. "We still thought Serena would advance though."

Lisicki owns a career record of 17-4 at Wimbledon and has knocked out the world No. 1 in the fourth round of Wimbledon on consecutive years. Last year, she took out Maria Sharapova before falling to compatriot Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals. But this year, in coming back from a three-set deficit against a five-time Wimbledon champion who was on a 34-match winning streak, Lisicki has pulled her biggest Wimbledon surprise.

She out-aced the woman who many consider to be the best server in the history of women's tennis, and broke her three consecutive times in the final set.

Nadal was rusty coming into Wimbledon after a long slog on the clay, and Federer is proving to be less and less of a factor at the Slams in 2013. For my money, I'm siding with Brad Gilbert. Lisicki's win was the biggest upset of the tournament. We knew she had it in her, but how many actually thought that Lisicki actually had the gumption to get it done?

"She's one of the girls in the locker room that's not scared of the big stage and not scared of playing someone who's seeded higher," said ESPN's Darren Cahill. "Before this tournament even started we had contact with Sabine, and she said 'This is my house.' That was a big statement because she's never won here, but this is her house because she plays her best tennis on this court."

Lisicki will meet Kaia Kanepi of Estonia in tommorow's quarterfinals.

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