Lisicki defies odds in run to semifinals

All England Notebook: For much of last season, Sabine Lisicki could barely walk.

Sabine Lisicki 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Sabine Lisicki 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON – As exciting as it is to see the superstars of the world of tennis face off in the latter stages of Grand Slam events, it is hard to beat the intrigue of a good comeback story.
For much of last season, Sabine Lisicki could barely walk.
On Thursday, she will be facing Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon semifinals.
The 21-year-old German’s career was in jeopardy after she had to spend seven weeks on crutches last year, missing five months after a left ankle sprain was misdiagnosed at Indian Wells in March, forcing her to eventually undergo surgery.
She dropped outside the world’s top-200 from a career high of number 22 three months ago, and squandered a match point against No. 3 seed Vera Zvonareva in the second round of Roland Garros before eventually being carried off court after succumbing to cramps and dizziness.
But her seemingly faltering comeback has all of the sudden exploded into the stratosphere over the last month.
After winning the Birmingham grass tournament two weeks ago, she was granted a wild card into Wimbledon, where she reached the quarterfinals two years ago, and has since gone on an incredible run that will change her career forever.
“After the injury, it’s so nice to be back. I know how fast it can be gone, so I just try to enjoy myself even more and just try to enjoy every minute that I’m on the court,” said Lisicki, who hit 52 winners to Marion Bartoli’s 12 in Tuesday’s 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1 quarterfinal win.
“The ankle was bad and that is the reason I refuse to give in and won’t let myself be beaten. After all I’ve been through, when I go out to play I’m determined to stay out on court for as long as possible. I won’t give in.”
Lisicki has become just the second wild card to reach the Wimbledon semifinals and the first German to do so since Steffi Graf in 1999.
She may not go on to emulate the German legend who won Wimbledon seven times, but if she claims two more wins and lifts the Venus Rosewater Dish on Saturday, she will complete a comeback as rapid and remarkable as any ever seen in tennis.