Marion Bartoli defeated Sabine Lisicki to complete her run to a Wimbledon championship. Given how well she played throughout the event, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the first-time major winner keep building momentum heading into the U.S. Open.
The biggest difference for Bartoli, who had only appeared in one Grand Slam final before Saturday's triumph, was confidence. She remained aggressive throughout the tournament instead of falling back into the defensive tendencies that led to past disappointment.
Even in the final against Lisicki, a big hitter with a bright future, Bartoli remained on the attack. She was taking serves early and crushing shots off both wings, building an insurmountable lead before the German was able to get her footing.
A lot is being made about the fact that she had an easy road to the title. And while it's true she didn't have to beat Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka or Maria Sharapova, it's impossible to fault a player for beating the players put in her path.
Over the final three rounds, Bartoli beat three players ranked inside the top 25 without dropping a set. That includes Lisicki, who was the player that knocked Williams out of the tournament.
Even though the draw did break favorably for the French star, she earned the championship. There won't be an asterisk next to her name simply because she didn't beat a player ranked inside the top 10 en route to the championship.
Furthermore, she played at a championship level throughout the two weeks of Wimbledon. Her consistency, a fleeting trait in modern tennis, didn't always lead to exciting, highlight-reel tennis, but it did get her the seven victories she needed.
Bartoli didn't drop a single set along the way and wasn't forced into any tiebreaks. When she needed a big serve, she hit it. When she needed a break, she got one. And when she needed to elevate her game in the final, she made it happen.
That's why it's easy to be bullish about her prospects for the rest of the summer, leading up to and including the season's final major, the U.S. Open. Bartoli was able to avoid the lackluster match she's so often turned in on the major stage in the past.
When she's in top form and confident in playing her unorthodox, yet effective, style, she has the tools to contend with the best players on tour. It just hasn't happened enough throughout her career, which explains the lack of deep runs in Grand Slam events.
Finally winning one should provide Bartoli with the belief she needs to build off her strong run of play and make another serious run at the U.S. Open.
Her performance at Wimbledon was what's been expected from her for awhile. It shouldn't shock anyone if it continues.
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