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By Chris Oddo

Bartoli into Wimbledon final (July 4, 2013) -- Marion Bartoli turned in the perfect match at the perfect time, dispatching Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2 in 62 minutes to reach the Wimbledon final for the second time in her career.

“Oh my gosh, I just really can't believe it right now,” the Frenchwoman told the BBC after the match. “Today I saw the ball like a football ball.”

Bartoli has yet to lose a set at Wimbledon this year, and she hasn't even had to play a tiebreaker.

Despite never facing the Belgian, Bartoli appeared well-prepared to face the steady diet of off-paced slice and drop shots that Flipkens plays. “I was hitting the ball very cleanly from the start, right away,” Bartoli said. “Obviously she plays a lot of slices so I needed to be really sharp on my footwork... everything was just working so perfectly, and to do that in a semifinal of Wimbledon on Centre Court is just an amazing feeling.”

Flipkens fell behind Bartoli 3-0 before finally managing her first hold of the match with a few big serves and aggressive forehands.

But Bartoli would fight back from 15-30 down to wrestle the next game from Flipkens.

The Frenchwoman broke again with a put-away smash to lead 5-1, then served an ace out wide to finish the first set in 27 minutes.

It was more of the same in the second set, and after jumping out to another 3-0 lead, Bartoli had managed to take 18 of 20 points. Flipkens, who began the match with a heavily taped right knee, took a medical time-out at that juncture, and reportedly complained that she wasn't able to push off of her right leg while serving.

“Obviously Kirsten had an amazing run,” Bartoli 
said. “I just want to congratulate her again for a fantastic Wimbledon. I think maybe she was a bit injured today. It must be hard for her to be injured in the semifinal of Wimbledon but she deserves a lot of respect.”

Flipkens would delay Bartoli's celebration with a hold in the next game, but Bartoli ran off the final three games, sealing her second trip to the Wimbledon final with an overhead smash and then dropping to the grass with a satisfied smile on her face.

(Photo Credit: AP)


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