Sabine Lisicki’s dog is named “Happy.”

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Well, of course it is.

If Lisicki is not one of the happiest players on the WTA Tour, she definitely has fooled the fans on Daniel Island this week. The 23-year-old from Germany seems to be constantly beaming, and with good reason.

The Family Circle Cup is the scene of her first WTA title (in 2009), and she was able to bring her Yorkshire Terrier with her this week. Heck, Lisicki even won a free camera at the players’ party Sunday night.

So a 41-minute blitzing of Anna Tatishvili on Tuesday morning only added more sunshine to Lisicki’s week.

“It’s always great if you play so well in the first round,” Lisicki said after she belted 26 winners in a 6-0, 6-0 victory on Billie Jean King Court. “Gives you lot of confidence. I play well here, so I enjoy being here. Always play better once I step on that center court.”

Lisicki has won $2.6 million in her career and was ranked as high as No. 12 in the world last year, when she knocked off then-No. 1 Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon. But a left ankle sprain suffered at last year’s Family Circle Cup short- circuited her clay-court season, and she sustained an abdominal injury during the hard-court season.

All that combined with a viral illness earlier this season helped her slide to her current No. 41 ranking. With American qualifier Mallory Burdette next for her, she’s looking at a third-round meeting with No. 1 Serena Williams.

Match of the year?

Compelling matches don’t happen only on center court or in Grand Slam finals. A throng of players crowded the balcony overlooking Althea Gibson Court on Monday to witness the end of a three-set battle between Anastasia Rodionova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Mattek-Sands won 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 in 3 hours and 42 minutes, the longest match on the WTA Tour this year.

“We were all so into that match,” said American Madison Keys, one of the player/spectators. “We didn’t care so much who won, but it was so tight with so much drama and emotion in it. That’s great when you are not involved, but it’s horrible when you are. It was the match of the year so far.”

Serena singing

How did world No. 1 Serena Williams celebrate her 48th career singles title last week in Miami?

“Just a little karaoke,” she said. “I tried to sing the Journey song. I like to learn old songs and do it in my own style, like people do on “The Voice.”

Serena didn’t name the song, but our money is on “Don’t Stop Believing.”

Or maybe “Wheel in the Sky.”

TV Time

ESPN2’s coverage of the Family Circle Cup begins Thursday (1-2:30 p.m.), and continues Friday (1-2:30 p.m.), Saturday (1-3 p.m.) and Sunday (1-3 p.m.).


Tuesday’s abundant sunshine and pleasant temperature brought out another impressive crowd.

The day-session attracted 6,457, while the night session was witnessed by 5,562 fans.

This year’s attendance was 18,264 entering Tuesday’s play, nearly 3,000 fans ahead of 2010’s pace when a record 95,767 fans turned out for the tourney.

Tuesday’s turnout pushed the four-day total to 30,280. The 2010 attendance after four days was 28,129.