Now that Wimbledon has concluded for the women, all eyes will now turn to the U.S. Open, which is scheduled to start in late August.
Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki will both be contenders at the final Grand Slam of the year, as each was very impressive throughout their respective runs at All England Club over the last few weeks. While they weren’t considered favorites to start the tournament, no one will doubt either of the two finalists going forward.
On Saturday, Bartoli played the match of her career. She dropped the first game of the final but dominated Lisicki quickly after. Bartoli took the next six games to clinch the opening set. At that point in the match, it appeared that Lisicki was doomed. But the young German made a run in the second set to make it a match.
Lisicki won four games in the second set but still couldn’t stop the French finalist. Bartoli would have three opportunities to win the Grand Slam at the end of the set and hit an ace to take the title. While Lisicki improved as the match went on, Bartoli was nearly flawless the entire way.
It will be intriguing to see if either finalist will make a similar run at the U.S. Open, as each should have a ton of confidence entering the Grand Slam. Let’s take a look at an early preview of how Bartoli and Lisicki will do at the final major tournament of the 2013 season.
Can Bartoli Win Another Grand Slam?
There’s no doubting that Bartoli is a worthy champion, but it is important to keep in mind that Wimbledon was plagued by injuries and there were several upsets throughout the tournament. She didn’t really have the toughest road to the title, which will make some critics skeptical about her future.
Bartoli didn’t drop a set in any of her matches at All England Club, but she didn’t face many notable players. Bartoli was the No. 15 seed in the tournament and Sloane Stephens, the No. 17 seed, was the top seed she played. Kirsten Flipkens, Bartoli’s semifinal opponent, was the No. 20 seed. Lisicki was the No. 23 seed.
While Bartoli proved that she’s capable of winning a Grand Slam, it’s up for debate if she would’ve won if she had to play some tougher competition. Unless the U.S. Open plays like Wimbledon did, she’ll be taking on more serious contenders. It will not be as easy to win the U.S. Open as it was to win at All England Club—that’s for sure.
Last year, Bartoli was very good at the U.S. Open, making it all the way to the quarterfinals. It was the first time since 2008 that she made it to the fourth round of the Grand Slam and the first time she made it past that point in the tournament. She couldn’t get by Maria Sharapova despite taking the first set, though.
Serena Williams won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, and Bartoli will attempt to join some elite company of female tennis players who have won both in the same year with back-to-back titles. The list includes Serena, Venus Williams, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, among many others. It's definitely possible but doesn't seem very likely.
Prediction: Eliminated in fourth round
Will Lisicki Avenge Her Grand Slam Loss?
If Lisicki is going to make another deep run at a Grand Slam, she’s going to need to cut down on her unforced errors. They plagued her all throughout the championship match, committing 25 in just two sets. Throughout the tournament, she averaged over nine unforced errors per set, which is quite high.
But while Lisicki didn’t win the first Grand Slam of her young career, she still made a ton of noise at All England Club. She had a much more difficult path to the title match than her opponent, as she had to beat a pair of top-five seeds to even have a chance to win the title.
In the fourth round, Lisicki upended the reigning champion and top player in the world, Serena Williams, in three sets. After an easy quarterfinal victory against Kaia Kanepi, Lisicki entered the semifinals against Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 4 seed. She committed 46 errors in the match but still came out with a massive victory.
Lisicki should be feared by many of the contenders at the U.S. Open because she’s shown that she can play with the best of them. The U.S. Open, however, hasn’t been kind to the German in the past. She’s only made it to the third round once in five tries. Last year, Lisicki lost to Sorana Cirstea in the first round of the tournament.
Lisicki should be able to make it out of the first round this time around and will likely win a few matches in New York. Because of her recent success against some very good opponents, expect her to go further than she ever has at the final Grand Slam tournament of the year.
Prediction: Eliminated in quarterfinal