LONDON (AP) - A year after her loss to Marion Bartoli in the Wimbledon final, Sabine Lisicki was reunited with her victor at Centre Court on Tuesday under far different circumstances.
This time, Lisicki came away a winner.
Bartoli retired after winning the Wimbledon singles title in 2013. In her absence this year, Lisicki was asked to play the opening women’s match on Centre Court, and as part of a tribute to the late British player Elena Baltacha.
Bartoli and Lisicki exchanged smiles in a ceremony at the net before the German needed less than an hour to beat No.79 Julia Glushko 6-2, 6-1 in a first-round match.
“I was quite nervous,” Lisicki said after being asked how she felt walking back on the court where she lost 6-1, 6-4 last year to Bartoli.
“I played my first Grand Slam final last year and I’m returning to the court where I played it on. That’s normal that there are some nerves involved. It’s such a special place for me.”
Lisicki ended defending champion and top-seeded Serena Williams’ 34-match winning streak in the fourth round last year and also eliminated Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur and Agnieszka Radwanska.
But against Bartoli in the final, she was overwhelmed by the emotion of playing in her first major final. Frustrated by her play and nervousness, she was visibly upset and began to tear up in the second set.
Rather than forget that match, Lisicki viewed some video clips from last year’s final.
“I did that yesterday,” Lisicki said. “I watched a little bit to calm down the nerves.”
Lisicki - playing her first match on grass this season - was in complete control from the start and showed no signs of the shoulder and wrist problems that have hampered her play recently.
“A few weeks ago I was also wondering how I would feel to come back here and play the first round,” Lisicki said. “It was awesome.”
Baltacha, Britain’s former No. 1 women’s player, died of liver cancer on May 4 at the age of 30.
Bartoli took part in a coin toss ceremony ahead of the Lisicki match. Wearing her Wimbledon members’ tag, Bartoli wiped away tears on several occasions during the ceremony.