Sabine Lisicki blasted a 125 mph serve on the way to the Family Circle Cup title Sunday on Daniel Island.
The career of the 19-year-old German is taking off at similar speed after a 6-2, 6-4 victory over fellow teenager Caroline Wozniacki in the finals of the $1 million Family Circle Cup tennis tournament.
"We'll be seeing a lot more of her," commentator Mary Joe Fernandez said as she flashed a thumbs-up on ESPN2, just after Lisicki slugged nine aces to claim her first singles title on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
At No. 63 in the world, Lisicki is the lowest-ranked player ever to win the Family Circle Cup, which dates back to 1973 and counts such legends as Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Justine Henin and Venus and Serena Williams among its champions.
But with a powerful serve that might rank second on tour only to that of Venus Williams — whom she defeated in the quarterfinals — Lisicki is projected to rocket to a career-best No. 43 when the new WTA rankings come out this week.
"You deserved to win," a gracious Wozniacki told Lisicki in front of the Stadium Court crowd. And
Lisicki bowed her head modestly when Charleston Mayor Joe Riley told her she would have her own huge champions' portrait outside the stadium next year.
It took an obviously nervous Lisicki six match points to clinch the title. But after she pounded a forehand into the corner for the victory, Lisicki leaped twice in the air, then collapsed on to her back, green clay clinging to her back and shoulders.
She then rushed to the stands to hug her father and coach, Richard, and her mother, Elisabeth. Her Yorkshire Terrier, happily named "Happy", was not on hand.
"I really couldn't believe that I won," said Lisicki, who collected $187,815 for the win, the biggest paycheck of her career. "I didn't use my first match points, and then I finally won, I don't know which match point. It felt like 30th, but I was just so happy that I won, and I couldn't really believe that I won a tournament."
In fact, Lisicki did not drop a set while winning the Family Circle Cup, including a 6-4, 7-6 (5) win over fifth-ranked Venus Williams in the quarters.
Wozniacki, meanwhile, had been pushed to three sets Saturday by top-seeded Elena Dementieva, and was playing her 10th match in two weeks after winning her fourth career title last week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
"I think I started feeling it a little bit today," said the 18-year-old from Denmmark. "But, she also didn't give me a chance to come back in the match."
Lisicki started the finals with an ace on her first serve — she smacked 36 in the tournament — and rolled to a 6-2 win in the first set. At 2-2 in the second set, Lisicki hammered a backhand winner for break point, then broke serve when Wozniacki's backhand nicked the net cord and bounced out.
Serving for the title at 5-4, Lisicki needed six match points to finally win. In her only previous finals appearance, she blew a match point to lose in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, last October.
"This time, I told myself you just have to keep fighting for every single point," said Lisicki, who was sick last week at Ponte Vedra, Fla., and wore blue tape on her left hand this week to protect some blisters.
"Don't let it get in the way of winning the match."
Wozniacki twice had break points to pull even, but Lisicki came up with service winners of 111 and 122 mph each time, and gained the sixth match point with a 122 mph ace.
"She has a good serve, definitely," Wozniacki said. "Every time you think you have a chance to come back, she comes up with a good serve."
Only Venus Williams (129 mph) on the women's tour has a faster serve than Lisicki. But she can also throw a changeup — one ace was clocked at just 85 mph — and rest of her game is formidable, as well. Lisicki had 25 ground-stroke winners Sunday.
"I've worked a lot on my fitness and also on the fine-tuning of my ground strokes, to place them even better," said Lisicki, who will return home to play Fed Cup for Germany next week. "I worked in the off-season, my butt off, and now it really pays off."