Wimbledon 2013: Sabine Lisicki revels in Serena triumph
Serena had won 77 of her previous 80 matches, an incredible run that brought her titles at Wimbledon, the US and French Opens and the Olympics. But Sabine Lisicki, the 23rd seed, booked her place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the fourth time by serving more aces and hitting 10 more winners than Serena.
Sabine Lisicki insisted she always believed she could shock Serena Williams after the German caused one of the great Wimbledon upsets with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 victory over the defending champion on Monday.
Lisicki once earned the nick-name 'Doris Becker' in a teasing tribute to the similarities in her game to compatriot Boris Becker, who deployed a huge serve and booming ground-strokes en route to winning three Wimbledon titles in the 1980s.
And Lisicki used those same assets to equally devastating effect as the five-time champion was bludgeoned off Centre Court in just over two hours of thrilling fourth round action.
Serena had won 77 of her previous 80 matches, an incredible run that brought her titles at Wimbledon, the US and French Opens and the Olympics.
But Lisicki, the 23rd seed, booked her place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the fourth time by serving more aces and hitting 10 more winners than Serena.
"I went into the match feeling that I could win. I played very good in my first three matches and I felt ready for this match," Lisicki said.
"I was getting more and more confident with my strokes.
"Serena's a very tough player. That's why she is number one in the world.
"But I put more pressure on her at the end of the match and I started to be more aggressive again.
"I started to serve better. I just hung in there. I really wanted to win it.
"I just was fighting for every single point no matter what was happening out there."
With a game perfectly suited to grass it is hardly surprising Lisicki has always made Wimbledon glory her number one ambition.
"When I was a child I dreamt of winning Wimbledon. To win Wimbledon and be number one in the world," she said.
Lisicki has now eliminated the reigning French Open champion in each of her last four visits to Wimbledon, with Williams joining Li Na, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova on her list of post-Paris victims.
"I don't know why that keeps happening," she said. "I just feel very comfortable here and they always happen to be on the side of the draw where I am.
"It did give me a little more energy knowing that Serena won the French Open and I beat the French Open champion three times in a row in my last three appearances. It was a good omen."
The 23-year-old, troubled by injuries for much of 2012, has never made it past the fourth round at any other Grand Slam.
But she comes alive on Wimbledon's grass courts, where her 17-4 record stands as a stark contrast to a 16-15 mark at the other majors.
Her best run ended in a semi-final defeat to Sharapova in 2011, when she became the first German woman to reach that stage at Wimbledon in 12 years.
And, while she loves the fast grass, Lisicki attributes her success as much to her comfort levels off court.
"Obviously playing on grass suits my game very well, but I feel very comfortable here," she said.
"Having a rented house, having my whole team being in the house, being able to cook, having a great atmosphere."
In a year in which four of the top five seeds have crashed out before the quarter-finals, Lisicki has as good a chance as anyone of winning the title.
But despite being installed as the new favourite by some bookmakers, she has no intention of looking past a first career meeting with Estonia's Kaia Kanepi in the last eight on Tuesday.
"I'm not worried what people say. I'm already focused for tomorrow," she added.