Monday, 26 October 2009

Spotlight On ... Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki shot to prominence at the 2008 Australian Open after reaching the third round as a qualifier and beating 16th seed Dinara Safina before losing to rising star Caroline Wozniacki. Her win over Safina was the first top 20 scalp of her career. She also qualified for WTA Indian Wells but lost in the opening round to fellow qualifier Greta Arn. She brushed aside that disappointment in fine style by reaching the fourth round of WTA Miami. She beat 5th seed Anna Chakvetadze for her first top 10 scalp. This result saw her rise to the outskirts of the top 100. She broke into the top 100 courtesy of a second round appearance in WTA Berlin. Here, she defeated Shahar Peer as a wildcard before losing to Sybille Bammer. The win over Peer was her third top 20 scalp. She reached the second round of Roland Garros, losing to 12th seed Agnes Szavay. Since then, her results have been less impressive, with early losses at WTA Birmingham, WTA s'Hertogenbosch (qualifying) Wimbledon and WTA Los Angeles and Montreal.

Sabine got things back on track with a quarter-final in WTA Cincinnati (l. to 3rd seed Maria Kirilenko) and a second round losses at the US Open (l. to 27th seed Alona Bondarenko) and WTA Seoul (l. to Samantha Stosur). In October, she reached the final of WTA Tashkent, beating top seed Shuai Peng before losing to 3rd seed Sorana Cirstea. She reached a career-high ranking of #49 in the same month.

Sabine's ranking slipped at the start of the 2009 season after she failed to defend the points gained in Melbourne the previous year, but she has still been racking up the wins. She reached the semi-finals in Memphis, beating 3rd seeded Lucie Safarova (l. to 2nd seed Victoria Azarenka). She stunned 2nd seed Venus Williams in the third round of Charleston and went on to reach the final (l. to Caroline Wozniacki) after also beating 6th seed Marion Bartoli in the semi-finals. This was followed by a second round in Stuttgart (l. to 3rd seed Jelena Jankovic) and a quarter-final in Estoril (l. to 8th seeded compatriot, Anna-Lena Groenefeld).

Sabine reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon (l. to top seed Dinara Safina, after wins over 5th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and 9th seed Caroline Wozniacki). Second rounds in Stanford (l. to 4th seed Jelena Jankovic), the US Open (l. to qualifier Anastasia Rodionova), Tokyo (l. to 7th seed Jelena Jankovic) followed this, but Luxembourg proved to be a return to form as she battled her way into the final (l. to Timea Bacsinszky).

She is coached by her father, Dr Richard Lisicki, who is a tennis coach. He introduced her to tennis at the age of seven.

Read Sabine's Luxembourg blog on the WTA Tour website here

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