fighting Frenchwoman has the tennis skills and the mentality to win just about any match, but even Bartoli has only so much physical energy. She was defeated by wild card Sabine Lisicki, a player who herself is no stranger to physical problems.
The circumstances were unusual. Not only was the Centre Court roof in place, but the rain and thunder were so loud, the players sometimes could not hear the ball being struck. The umpire had to shout so that they could hear the score.
Bartoli's serve was not raging the way it was in the previous round, and she wasn't hitting her groundstrokes with the same wicked angles. Lisicki used her admirable serve and a number of well-timed drop shots to wear the Frencwoman down. Lisicki took the first set 6-4, but she got a bit shaky in the second set, and Bartoli--who looked like she was spent--did what she has done throughout this tournament when she looked like she was spent: She fought her way to a tiebreak, which she won. It didn't take much of a stretch to think that Bartoli had somehow found a new gear, especially since Lisicki had failed to convert three match points.
But she didn't. She was utterly exhausted in the third set, even taking a seat during a changeover. Bartoli's demeanor was, in fact, dramatically different from the bouncing, shadow-striking "come get a piece of me" ball of energy she has been this season. It took Lisicki only 36 minutes to win the third set 6-1. She hit a total of 52 winners to move to the semifinals, in which she will play 2004 champion and 5th seed Maria Sharapova.
Lisicki requested a wild card and was granted it after she won the tournament in Birmingham. Her performance at Wimbledon has demonstrated that she is indeed "back," after enduring a series of illnesses and injuries. As for Bartoli--she is to be commended for fighting through this season in circumstances during which--not that long ago--she would have retired. Bartoli is just too talented to allow physical fragility to get the best of her.
A wild card, by the way, has never won the women's championship at Wimbledon.