Marion Bartoli of France reacts after winning her womens singles semifinal match. Photo by the Associated Press
WIMBLEDON, England -- France's Marion Bartoli capped a remarkable resurgence from a season of turmoil by capturing her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Fifteenth-seeded Bartoli defeated big-serving German Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-4. Lisicki had upset No. 1 Serena Williams in the fourth round but seemed unnerved by her first appearance in a Grand Slam final.
"When I started this campaign on Court 14 if you'd told me I would win I'd think it impossible," Bartoli said. "I have dreamed of this since 6 years old."
An unorthodox personality with unconventional strokes, Bartoli kept Lisicki pinned at the baseline with her two-fisted shots from both wings.
The 23-year-old German didn't help her cause with flurries of backcourt errors and off-balance service tosses, some resulting in costly double faults.
"I was just overwhelmed by the whole situation, but credit to Marion," Lisicki said. "She's been in this situation before and handled it well."
Bartoli said her previous appearance in a major final helped keep her nerves in check.
"I was there in 2007, and I missed it," said Bartoli, the runner-up to Venus Williams that year. "I know how it feels, Sabine, and I'm sure you will be there one more time. I have no doubt about it."
Bartoli, 28, is the first woman to win Wimbledon without facing a top-10 seeded player. American Sloan Stephens, seeded 17th, was the highest seed she faced en route to the title. Bartoli didn't drop a set in the tournament.
Bartoli wrestled for months before deciding to sever coaching ties with her father, Walter, her only coach since childhood. She eventually separated and struggled to find the right chemistry. Walter was on scene for the final, his first appearance at the tournament.
"My dad, who is here with me today, means so much," Bartoli said.
She returned to him in between short coaching stints in the spring but eventually hired a hitting partner, Thomas Drouet, and began working with coaches from the French Tennis Federation, including 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo.
Bartoli is the lowest seed to win Wimbledon since No. 23 Venus Williams in 2007.
Bartoli is sixth first-time major champion in the last 14 Slams and the first from France since Mauresmo won here seven years ago.
Despite the loss, Lisicki will make about $1.2 million not bad for a player with career earnings of $2.8 million to this point.
Bartoli gets a $2.4 million winner's share and caps off a lifelong quest.
Douglas Robson, USA TODAY Sports