WIMBLEDON, England — With the standard-bearers of what’s known as “Big Babe tennis” nowhere in sight, old-school qualities returned to Wimbledon’s Center Court on Thursday.
The all-European women’s semifinals were chock-full of artful slices, crafty drop shots and serve-and-volley tactics. And they were contested by average-sized women amid virtual silence, with neither a 6-footer nor a shrieker among the unlikely quartet, none of whom has won a major title.
First to secure a spot in Saturday’s final was 15th-seeded Marion Bartoli of France, who took a catnap in the locker room beforehand only to find that no stockpile of energy was required. Bartoli breezed past Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2 in just 62 minutes.
The semifinal that followed redeemed the day, rippling with wild momentum swings, clever shot-making and gutsy forays to the net. Germany’s Sabine Lisicki, seeded No. 23, overcame a midmatch mental walkabout to prevail 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 over No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, the highest seed left after the ousters of five-time champion Serena Williams and the twin towers deemed her most credible threat: Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.
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• American twins Bob and Mike Bryan advanced to Saturday’s men’s doubles final with a 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Rohan Bopanna of India and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France. A victory would give the 35-year-olds all four Grand Slam titles plus the Olympic gold medal at the same time, a feat dubbed the “Golden Slam.”