Continued from page 2

She figures she’s much better equipped to handle a Grand Slam final now than when she managed to win only five games in the loss to Venus Williams six years ago.

“I’m just doing everything better, honestly,” said Bartoli, who was only 22 when she made her major final debut.

Lisicki, 23, and Radwanska, 24, have known each other since they were junior players, and their styles could hardly be more different. All in all, Lisicki is far more aggressive than Radwanska, who relies on varying speeds and angles while mainly aiming to keep the ball in play. According to the official statistics, Lisicki finished with far more winners, 60-21, and far more unforced errors, 46-10.

Lisicki won her first five service games and was up a break in the second set when everything changed. Radwanska broke five times in a row, until Lisicki finally held again to get within 3-1 in the third. Lisicki ran off five out of six games, ignoring the distraction of a courtside scoreboard that began flickering, then was shut off. At 5-4 in the third, Lisicki served for the match, twice getting within two points of victory, but Radwanska broke again.

At 6-5, 30-all, and again at deuce, Radwanska needed two points to win. She couldn’t do it.

“I had a lot of chances. Couple of easy mistakes,” Radwanska said. “It cost me.”

At 7-all, Lisicki broke by nearly sitting on the grass for a backhand that forced Radwanska to miss a volley. Given another chance to serve it out, Lisicki capped the most meaningful victory of her career with a forehand winner.

“It’s unbelievable the way she came back again in the third set,” said Lisicki’s coach, Wim Fissette, who used to work with four-time major champion Kim Clijsters.

Radwanska, who spent nearly three total hours more on court than Lisicki in previous rounds, played with both thighs heavily taped.

“If we play in two days from now,” she said, “I think it would be definitely different.”

Asked why she offered Lisicki only a cursory, no-look handshake, then quickly left the court, Radwanska answered: “Should I just be there and dance?”

Understandably, Lisicki’s mood at her news conference was cheerier. She couldn’t stop smiling or chuckling.

“When I arrived here at the tournament, I just said that anything’s possible. That’s what I believed. I still do,” Lisicki said. “I came to win every match that I walk on the court (for), and that’s what I’ve done so far.”