No expert has picked anybody other than Serena Williams to lift the trophy at SW19 this year. She has been on a 34 match unbeaten run, has been far ahead of her competitors this year and was coming off a French Open victory recently. However, this Wimbledon hasn't been kind to these kind of statistics.
Come Sabine Lisicki, No. 23 ranked German from the lands of legendary Steffi Graf but nowhere close to Graf in terms of tennis success, and sweeps past the 16 time Grand Slam Champion Serena to reach the Quarter Finals this year. Lisicki still is no novice when it comes to play at the grass.
I like her game because she's aggressive, has a big serve and ground strokes and has been a Semi and Quarter Finalist in the past couple of years at Wimbledon. But that itself does not suffice to beat Serena Williams on the green courts where she is a five time champion.
But as we all know very well by now, Wimbledon '13 is different and unkind to past champions (Novak is still there). Lisicki caught Serena off guard with her power game to win the first set 6-2 in almost three quarters of an hour. Serena demolished Lisicki in the second 6 games to 1 in mere 27 minutes to ward off any hopes of the upset. Nobody thought otherwise when Serena went a break up in the third to lead 3-1. But, i guess, the upsets have raised the belief quotients of the underdogs like never before. Sabine Lisicki produced some scintillating 'boom boom' game of her own and romped off to take the set 6-4 and thus, the match.
She outplayed Williams in terms of hitting winners and saved a lot of break points (11 out of 16) while breaking 5 times in 8 opportunities. She did what nobody has done to Serena in last 34 matches...register a win!
But looking at the upset brigade this year, the next round results hasn't been anything close even when the opponents are no big guns. Steve Darcis after beating Nadal couldn't play due to a shoulder injury; Sergiy Stakhovsky coming from his win over Roger Federer gets straight setted by Jurgen Melzer and Sharapova conqueror De Brito lost to another unseeded player Karin Knapp in two sets.
One of the reasons for this is the emotional fatigue to overcome a champion, along with the attention and limelight that come along with it. It shows how great players become great. They do it day in and day out...never going away! Still, Sabine Lisicki will be looking to change this 'pattern' and go deep in the draw. Maybe, even make a title run. She sure has the game, but does she has it in the head? That is to be seen. That, in tennis, is the difference between a good player and a great player. That, is the difference between the top 8 player and a 100th ranked player.
For Serena, she sure joins the elite club this year, with Sharapova, Azarenka, Federer, Nadal and many more...unwillingly though!