Wimbledon • Women's final: Bartoli: unconventional champ

Unusual women's tournament results in unique winner
2013-07-07T00:00:00Z Wimbledon • Women's final: Bartoli: unconventional champThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

LONDON - Ever since she was a kid, practicing until midnight with her father, Marion Bartoli went about playing tennis her own way.

The two-handed strokes for backhands, forehands, even volleys. The hopping in place and practice swings between points, which help her focus. The unusual setup for serves - no ball-bouncing, arms crossed, right wrist resting on her left thumb before the toss.

Whatever works, right? This unique Wimbledon, appropriately enough, produced a unique champion in the ambidextrous Bartoli, the 15th-seeded Frenchwoman who won her first Grand Slam title by beating 23rd-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-1, 6-4 Saturday in an error-filled, one-sided final that was far from a classic.

"It's always been a part of my personality to be different. I think being just like the other one is kind of boring," said Bartoli, 28.

This was Bartoli's 47th Grand Slam tournament, the most ever played by a woman before earning a championship.

She is the only woman in the 45-year Open era to win Wimbledon playing two-fisted shots off both wings (Monica Seles, Bartoli's inspiration for that unusual style, collected her nine major titles elsewhere).

Until Saturday, it had been more than 1 1/2 years since Bartoli won a tournament at any level.

Until these last two weeks, Bartoli's record in 2013 was 14-12, and she had failed to make it past the quarterfinals anywhere.

Bartoli was asked to explain how she went from that sort of mediocre season to winning seven matches in a row at Wimbledon.

"Well," she said, spreading her arms wide, "that's me!"

Unlike Lisicki, a first-time major finalist who was admittedly overwhelmed by the occasion and teared up in the second set, Bartoli already had been on this stage, with the same stakes. Back in 2007, Bartoli won only five games during a two-set loss to Venus Williams in the Wimbledon final.

"I know how it feels, Sabine," Bartoli said during the on-court trophy ceremony. "And I'm sure, believe me, you'll be there one more time. I have no doubt about it."

Bartoli became the first woman in the Open era to win Wimbledon without facing anyone seeded in the top 10 - her highest-rated opponent was No. 17 Sloane Stephens of the United States in the quarterfinals. That's in part because of all of the injuries and surprises, including exits for No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, No. 3 Maria Sharapova, No. 5 Sara Errani, No. 7 Angelique Kerber, No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 10 Maria Kirilenko by the end of the second round.

When play began under a sunny sky, Bartoli looked jittery, double-faulting twice in a row to drop the opening game.

Then it was Lisicki's turn to serve, and she returned the favor, double-faulting on break point - her last serve barely reaching the bottom of the net - to make it 1-all.

From there, Bartoli took over, winning 11 of 12 games.

"I was doing everything well," Bartoli said. "I was moving well. I was returning well. I mean, I really played a wonderful match."

Today

• What: Wimbledon men's final, Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray

• When: 6 a.m.

• TV: ESPN (replay at noon on Ch 9)

Off the beaten path

Already known for her quirky mannerisms on the court, Marion Bartoli's win was just as unorthodox:

47th

Grand Slam tournament for Bartoli - the most ever played by a woman before winning a championship

14-12

Bartoli's 2013 record before Wimbledon

No. 17

The highest-rated foe Bartoli faced here

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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