By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON, July 1 A sore shoulder could not prevent Sabine Lisicki's love-affair with grass from blossoming further as she reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win over Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova on Tuesday.
For 50 weeks of the year, the 24-year-old German seems to get lost in the crowd by producing one non-descript performance after another.
But come Wimbledon fortnight the 2013 runner-up morphs into a world beater and has now reached at least the quarter-finals in each of her last five appearances, having missed the 2010 tournament through injury.
The 19th seed raised a few alarms within her camp on day eight of the championships when she took a medical time out at breakpoint down at 1-1 in the third set. Lying flat on her stomach on Court Three, her back and shoulder was massaged and brought back to life by the tournament trainer.
"The timing was very unfortunate. I hit a ball before, and it just went into my back. I tried to keep going. I played a few points but I wasn't able to lift my arm," said the German who lights up the court with her beaming smile.
"I mean, it was obvious. I was serving, what, 50 miles an hour or something. I don't remember if I ever served that slow in my life before.
"That's why I had to call the trainer. I just couldn't lift my arm anymore."
Although she received further treatment during the changeovers, she maintained her focus and wrapped up victory on her third match point when Shvedova netted a forehand.
"I was fighting with all my heart. I couldn't really serve. I was just digging in there, fighting for every single point," added the German.
"I feel lucky that I got away with it, with serving 50 miles an hour serves.
"I love this place so much. The crowd gave me such a big support again. I think that really helps in those moments."
Lisicki celebrated by shrieking and falling to her knees in delight. Asked whether she would be fit enough to beat French Open runner-up Simona Halep on Wednesday, she said: "I'll go and see the doctor and physio and hope they'll be able to do some miracles." (Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Martyn Herman and Clare Lovell)