The Norman Transcript

Sports

July 4, 2013

No majors, no problem for Wimbledon’s women

LONDON — In 11 of the past 13 years, Serena or Venus Williams — and sometimes both — reached the Wimbledon final. The sisters collected five championships each in that span.

This time around, Serena lost in the fourth round. Venus didn’t show up at all, sidelined by a bad lower back.

So the 2013 semifinals at the All England Club on Thursday will be populated by a far less famous, and far less accomplished, bunch. Still, No. 4-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, No. 15 Marion Bartoli of France, No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium and No. 23 Sabine Lisicki of Germany provide a fitting foursome for a Wimbledon unlike any other.

Not only has none of the four women left won a Wimbledon title, none has won any Grand Slam title.

Petra Kvitova, the tournament’s 2011 champion, probably put it best after losing in the quarterfinals: “Very weird Grand Slam over here.”

Indeed. Never before in the 45-year Open era had no previous major champion reached the Wimbledon women’s semifinals.

There were eight owners of Grand Slam trophies in the field when play began last week. One by one, they left, with Lisicki accounting for three: She beat Francesca Schiavone in the first round and Sam Stosur in the third, before stopping Serena Williams’ 34-match winning streak.

Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic lost in the second round, the same day Victoria Azarenka pulled out because of a knee injury. The last major winners were sent home Tuesday, when Flipkens beat Kvitova, and Radwanska eliminated Li Na.

“Very unexpected,” Bartoli said, describing the semifinal lineup, along with the whole tournament, “but that’s also the magic of it.”

On Thursday, she will play Flipkens, and Radwanska will face Lisicki.

The men’s semifinals Friday are No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro, and No. 2 Andy Murray against No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz. Djokovic owns six major titles, while Murray and del Potro have one apiece.

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