Kerber back from the brink in thriller

  • Last Updated: July 3 2012, 20:55 BST

Angelique Kerber won the all-German battle with Maria Sharapova's conqueror Sabine Lisicki to reach her first Wimbledon semi-final.

Angelique Kerber: First Wimbledon semi-final

It was a rollercoaster battle full of twists and turns, and Kerber looked like she had blown her chance when she missed three match points in the second set and then trailed 5-3 in the decider.

But Lisicki faltered when serving for the match and eighth seed Kerber reeled off four games in a row to triumph 6-3 6-7 (9/7) 7-5 after two-and-a-half hours under the Centre Court roof.

Kerber said: "It's unbelievable, the match was so tough. Suddenly she played unbelievable tennis. I'm very happy to be in the semis here for the first time.

"We have known each other from a young age and it was mentally not easy, but it doesn't matter who you play, you have to play your best and I stuck to my plan and played a very good match I think."

The 24-year-old Kerber has had a phenomenal 12 months since losing to Laura Robson in the first round here last year and then dropping out of the top 100.

She had a surprise run to the semi-finals of the US Open and has kicked on from there, winning two WTA Tour titles this season and establishing herself in the top 10.

Kerber made a brilliant start, opening up a 4-1 lead and then clinching the first set as Lisicki struggled to find the form that had seen her overpower Sharapova in the fourth round, gaining revenge against the Russian for defeat in last year's semi-final.

At 3-0 in the second set, the match looked over, but Lisicki began to cut down on the unforced errors and maintain her winner count to pull back level.

Kerber kept her nose just in front and had two match points with Lisicki serving at 5-4 behind, but the 22-year-old showed impressive bottle to save them.

She then saved a third match point in the tie-break with another sweet backhand, before levelling the match when Kerber left a forehand that landed on the baseline.

Lisicki looked the more confident player in the decider and she earned the chance to serve out for victory.

Yet Kerber turned the tussle around again before taking her fifth match point when her opponent blazed a backhand wide.

Kerber felt the turning point was a HawkEye challenge she made when serving to stay in the match at 5-4 down, which showed her shot to be in by a fraction.

She said: "I think that was the change. I think that saved my life in this match. That was the first challenge that was right and for me. It was 15-15, not 0-30. I was just laughing.

"And then I felt, 'Okay, it's 15-15, just try to play point by point and maybe you can change it and maybe you win this match'. And I did it."

The German also revealed her mind flashed back to the final of Eastbourne a week and a half ago, when she held five match points against Tamira Paszek before losing.

Kerber added: "My mind was a little bit in the final in Eastbourne, where I lost with match points also. So I think this was a very tough and important match for me."