Two Teenagers in Family Circle Cup Final
April 19, 2009 -- Sabine Lisicki took the wind out of Caroline Wozniacki's sails this afternoon at the Family Circle Cup, defeating the #5 seed 62 64. The German teenager, seeded #16, served big, hitting one unreturnable serve at 125 mph while many others sped past 120 mph. Wozniacki threatened to spoil Lisicki's run for the title when she saved five match points in the last game of the match, sending the remainder of it into a see-saw affair. However, Lisicki clenched the title on the sixth match point and fell to the ground in celebration.
"I really couldn't believe that I won, you know, because I didn't use my first match points," Lisicki began. "I don't know which match point it was. It felt like the 30th, but I was just so happy that I won."
Sabine Lisicki's strategy was apparent from point one. She wanted to run the Dane from side-to-side and drag her to the net. In the first game, Sabine dinked her first drop shot of many. This shot was the game winner and her first service break.
"She started well," Caroline said. "She was playing aggressive. And, I wasn't playing my best. She's had a great week, and she was playing really good today."
Being the fifth seed definitely pressured Wozniacki to perform well, and win. However, her three-hour semi-final match yesterday against Elena Dementieva had to have affected the teen's ability to keep her feet moving, and her spirits high.
"I don't think I'm tired from yesterday," Caroline said. "I just think it's in general, you know, from playing a lot of matches. I think I started feeling it a little bit today, but I mean she also didn't give me a chance to come back in the match."
Sabine Lisicki kept up a relentless barrage of fast serves, deep groundstrokes and brilliant winners. She didn't seem nervous. She concentrated on each and every point, quickly moving from one to another. She kept Wozniaki to 14% on first return points won.
"This win gives me a lot of confidence," Sabine said, her smile wider than ones she'd worn throughout the week. "I worked so hard the last couple weeks, months, and it's finally paying off. I don't put the pressure too much on me now because I just want to go out there, fight and enjoy being on the court as I do now."
Tomorrow, Sabine Lisicki flies home to Germany where she will play Fed Cup in Frankfort for the first time. She will then play Stuttgart. Her plans afterward have not solidified. However, she thought she would play Estoril and Warsaw, before heading to Paris for The French Open.
One shot Wozniacki could improve is her return of second serves. Her percentage was above average for the match, but she doesn't capitalize on them either. Instead she just seems to put them back in play. In contrast, Lisicki took more risks on second serves. It could have been detrimental to her results; however, they looked to keep her upbeat and confident. Her game is power.
"I'm not a player that wants to be big," Caroline explained, holding her hands out wide from her shoulders. "I do things well, I like running and thinking. I make the right decisions, so that's the way I want to continue, and that's my game. I want to improve the things I do, but on a day like this I need to have my legs there. I played too short and then she goes the other way."
It was the first time in ten years that two teenagers took center court in the finals of the Family Circle Cup. Sabine Lisicki is 19 and Caroline Wozniacki is 18 years old. This was their second meeting. Wozniacki beat Lisicki at the 2008 Australian Open.
Before the single's marquee match, the #2 seeded team of Nadia Petrova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands played the unseeded team of Patty Schnyder and Liga Dekmeijere in the women's doubles final. None of these women is the oldest on tour; however, Schnyder is 31 and Petrova is 28. Both are former singles' champions of the Family Circle Cup.
The match went the distance today -- over an hour and a half. Petrova and Mattek-Sands had the upper hand in the first set tiebreak, but one or two unforced errors were enough for Schnyder and Dekmeijere to grab the set.
Petrova's big serve and Mattek-Sands' strong return on serve helped them get up two breaks in the second set, which they won.
Petrova and Mattek-Sands then thrilled the fans when they came from behind in the third-set super tiebreak to win the 2009 Family Circle Cup Doubles title 67 (5) 62 11-9.