Lisicki closes in on dream title

Sabine Lisicki fulfilled a childhood dream by reaching the Wimbledon final just three years after she feared her career was in ruins.

Determination written all over her face...

Lisicki came out on top in one of the best matches of this Wimbledon, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 2-6 9-7 yesterday in the second semi-final on Centre Court.

The German's progression to the final is a just reward for the determination and guile she has shown since suffering a serious ankle injury playing at Indian Wells in 2010.

The 23-year-old spent six weeks on crutches after having an operation on her left ankle and she had to rely on help from her physiotherapist to enable her to walk again.

The 24th seed never felt like giving up her fight to regain full fitness.

"I always believed I could come back, no matter what happened," Lisicki said.

"I can still remember when the doctor told me that I had to be on crutches the next six weeks. The first question I asked him was, 'When can I play again?'.

"That period made me such a much stronger person and player.

"I know anything is possible after learning how to walk again."

Lisicki dropped to below the 200 mark in the rankings after her time on the sidelines, but she made a surprising run to the semi-finals of Wimbledon two years ago and this year she has gone one better, making the final after beating illustrious names including Serena Williams, Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone along the way.

As a self-confessed Wimbledon fanatic, it would be something of a fairytale ending for Lisicki if she were to beat Marion Bartoli on Centre tomorrow.

"It's something I've been dreaming about since I was a little girl," said Lisicki, who hails from Troisdorf, a small town in western Germany.

"I just can't wait to play Saturday.

"The first time I came to Wimbledon I fell in love with it.

"It was the place I always wanted to play at. It was always a dream to play on the Centre Court and win the tournament."

Bartoli wasted little time in booking a place in her second Wimbledon final.

The Frenchwoman beat Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens 6-1 6-2 first up on Centre, but her task was made easier as her opponent was carrying an injury.

Bartoli reached the 2007 Wimbledon final as a 22-year-old when she was beaten in straight sets by Venus Williams. The world number 15 is sure she is in a better position to win this time around, though.

"The last time I was so young," Bartoli said.

"Every time I came out on court during the tournament I was the underdog and this time it has been totally the opposite.

"I think I've been able to deal with the pressure really well and keep improving throughout the championships and keep playing better."

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