Wimbledon 2014: Sabine Lisicki suffers incredible collapse against Simona Halep
Last year's finalist started the game well but then fell apart
Like every other sport, tennis has its psychological dimension, playing a part in those occasionally improbable turnarounds and swings in a contest.
The utter transformation in the quarter-final between third seed Simona Halep and last year's runner-up Sabine Lisicki took some believing nevertheless.
Lisicki had struggled through the previous round against Yaroslav Shvedova, beset by shoulder problems, committing 20 double faults and inviting controversy by taking a medical time-out in the middle of a game.
As she raced into a 3-0 lead on Centre Court, confidence illustrated with a cheeky drop-shot or two and first serves up to 116mph, all seemed well with her shoulder and her world.
Yet from 4-1 the German collapsed to lose the first set 6-4 and, almost unbelievably, the second one to love, joining the long list of women who have suffered a bagel set this Wimbledon.
Early on she had been prepared to smile at her own errors but as they grew and grew there was nothing but grim acceptance of her fate in losing 11 successive games. Before the end, even the Royal Box had given up on her and headed for lunch, while the crowd's sympathetic applause was mixed with a desire to put an end to the misery and get Andy Murray on court.
All Lisicki had managed by the finish was to avoid the tears of frustration from a poor performance in last year's defeat on the same stage by Marion Bartoli.
Bartoli's retirement meant Lisicki was given a Centre Court spot on the opening day of the tournament, when she took only 57 minutes to dismiss Julia Glushko of Israel.
Today the match lasted exactly the same time. And Lisicki was on the wrong end of a demoralising defeat.
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