Wimbledon 2013: Odds on Women semi-finalists reaching last four was 33,379-1

The four are bidding for a place in Saturday's final this afternoon

An improbable scenario that would have prompted a polite chuckle among tennis fans two weeks ago is set to play out on Thursday when Marion Bartoli, Kirsten Flipkens, Sabine Lisicki and Agnieska Radwanska do battle in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

The odds on those players making the last four were 33,379-1 at the start of the tournament but the early departures of Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka opened up the draw and Lisicki knocked out defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round to blow it wide open.

Lisicki, the new favourite and bidding to become Germany's first grand slam singles champion since Steffi Graf in 1996, will take on last year's runner-up Radwanska.

Awaiting the winner in the final will be French 15th seed Bartoli or Belgian Flipkens, a woman who has defied medical advice to continue a tennis career that came close to being destroyed by injury and illness.

Nicknamed "Flipper", she was languishing at 262nd in the world a year ago, after suffering blood clots in her legs that put her at risk of a pulmonary embolism or thrombosis.

She said she felt tired after a flight from Thailand and went to have it checked out before heading on to Tokyo.

"The doctor told me that if I had taken the flight I would have come out blue," she said.

Her fightback has been nothing short of extraordinary. Her freefall down the rankings left her in the tennis wilderness where she was not even deemed good enough to play in the qualifiers for last year's competition.

FIRST BELGIAN

She became the first Belgian to reach the last four at Wimbledon since Justine Henin in 2007 with a three-set victory over former champion Petra Kvitova.

Now all that stands between her and a place in the final is Bartoli, the 2007 runner-up to Venus Williams, whose punchy groundstrokes are tailor-made for grass.

The Frenchwoman came through a bizarre rain-interrupted quarter-final that featured eight successive breaks of serve.

Lisicki is now tipped as the player most likely to lift the famous Venus Rosewater dish.

Having ended Williams's hopes of a sixth title in arguably the biggest shock of a tournament filled to bursting with surprise results, she beat unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi in just 65 minutes to reach the last four.

Lisicki's career has also been dogged by injury - she dropped outside the world's top 200 in 2011 - but she is a potent force on grass.

She possesses one of the fastest serves on tour and her Wimbledon record contrasts markedly with her performances in the three other grand slams.

She has a 18-4 record in singles at the All England Club compared to 16-15 at the Australian, French and U.S. Opens.

Lisicki reached the semi-finals in 2011 before losing to Maria Sharapova, but is feeling more positive this time around.

"I think this time I'm more ready," she said. "I just feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I think I'm moving well. I feel good.

"And having had the experience in the past, all that together helps me a lot."

Her semi-final opponent is no novice.

Radwanska reached the final last year against the odds and surprised many still further by taking Serena Williams to three sets when everyone was predicting a mauling.

She is the highest remaining seed and shuns the hard-hitting muscular tennis that currently dominates the women's game for a more cerebral and wily approach.

Reuters

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map