Sabine lost to Irina-Camelia Begu after being up 5-0 in the third set. It’s as heartbreaking as it sounds. With all the problems Sabine has been having lately, to get into such a strong position and to see it all go away, is really devastating. I think this is what I worried about when Nole almost lost the Wimbledon final in 2014. If he lost that match, it’d have been crushing. Sabine’s loss to Begu feels as crushing as I thought that would’ve been.
Let me give a bit of a summary of how it went.
The first set was back and forth. Sabine and Irina were holding comfortably most games and then, when they faced break points, they’d come up with the goods to save them with a big serve. It got to 5-4 with Sabine serving to stay in it and I just knew she wasn’t going to hold. I’ve seen it happen too many times. Sure enough, Sabine would drop the game fairly comfortably. The big problem was she tried hitting slices, which sailed long. Also on the 15-30 point, she just laid in a first serve after missing the first serve on her first three serves of the game. It caused Irina to get control of the point from the start.
In the second set, the first three games took forever. Many deuces. Irina held the opening game, after Sabine had break point chances. Then Sabine toughed out a hold and finally took a break point. After that it was smooth sailing. Sabine seemed to have won the battle by getting that break and Irina went away after that. Sabine won 11 straight games from 0-1 down in the second set. It got to 4-6, 6-1, 5-0 when everything turned around.
I didn’t see it coming. How could anyone? Sabine got down 40-15 when she got it back to deuce by hitting some big shots. Irina was able to hold though and avoid a mental double bagel. Sabine then served for the match in a long game that went to six deuces. I could tell by the end she was getting tired from serving so much. Sabine did have a match point on the first deuce. She saved six break points in the game before Irina broke on the seventh opportunity. That was like the battle when Sabine broke in the second set. I still didn’t think she’d lose though as she had many more opportunities. Once it got to 5-3 though, I kinda knew she’d lose the lead, just like I knew she’d get broken at the end of the first set. Begu served for the match at 6-5, but Sabine showed fight and forced a tiebreak. That was as much as she had left though and the devastating loss had been complete.
Honestly I thought it was the worst storm that could happen. From 5-0, Irina started to find her game, while Sabine started to lose it with her game. In tennis it’s not over until the umpire says the score and this proved it. The match lasted just long enough for Irina to turn things around. Many would think it was nerves entirely. I’m sure it had something to do with it, but as I said, I think it had a lot to do with that long service game tiring Sabine out and Irina finding her own game. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances.
It’s not like Sabine just crumbled entirely. She did fight. Maybe not well, but she did. She forced the tiebreak, which I’d imagine no one thought she’d do. In the tiebreak she even had a chance to get back in it after Irina raced out to a 5-0 lead. She just couldn’t hold her serves.
This loss was as crushing as you can imagine. Immediately though I had no concern about the result, the points, ranking, myself, or anything else. I was only concerned with Sabine. With all the troubles she’s had closing out matches and winning three setters, this felt like a sure thing from 5-0 up. Sabine has reached rock bottom in not winning it. With the news this week of her break up with her boyfriend of two years, in which she hinted that he cheated on her, you know she’s low on confidence to start with and not feeling the best. This goes beyond tennis and that’s why it’s so important her fans are with her right now. I wrote an article after Indian Wells of what I thought she needed to do to improve her game. None of that matters anymore. All that matters is getting Sabine right. Getting her to be calm, assured, loved, confident, and, most importantly, happy. She’s in a crisis right now and it’s our job as fans to support her. This type of loss will linger for a while if not cared for properly. We can’t put her down more than she already is. Because she’s devastated. She tweeted a heartbroken emoji after the match, which she deleted shortly thereafter. She’s hurting pretty bad. If any “fan” can’t tell how much this hurts and complains or tries to put her down even more with a demeaning message, then they shouldn’t be a fan of her anymore. We don’t need them. Being angry at this loss shows you’re more of a fan of winning than Sabine. You don’t care about Sabine. She’s in a crisis and needs support.
I tell you, I’m like the last person to try and cheer someone up after a loss. I see fan accounts do that after like every loss and I just don’t get how they can be so cheery and positive after each and every loss. At some point, you need to start winning. You can’t be satisfied with effort if wins never come. I really can’t see myself doing that after every loss, but I’ll have to until Sabine turns it around. This is different because of how long these troubles have been going on with her game, as well as the off court stuff. Sabine doesn’t need tough love anymore. She needs real love. We have no choice but to be positive. Sabine is heartbroken enough. We have to be there for her.
I so wish I could tell her what she means to me right now. I’d love to have a project where members of Team Lisicki write something for her and I could put them all in a book to give to her personally. I’d love to go to Charleston and see her to give her those messages to remind her what she means to us all, but it’s just not possible. I’m going to try writing something in another blog post on here and sending it to her on Twitter. I mean, I wish I could give it to her in person, but this will have to do. She just needs to know how much she means to us. I’d like to watch her play at a high level for many years to come, but if we don’t take care of her now, it will be impossible for her to have success.
I ask you all to please send Sabine a positive tweet, saying that you love her, or something to try to cheer her up. She does read the tweets fans send her. I, as well as many of my other friends on Twitter, have gotten response from her through a like or retweet. She’s said in the past that she reads them too. She doesn’t need any demeaning messages right now. She needs to see love to inspire her to keep pushing forward. To know that people are with her and always will be. Some people may not be faithful to her, but we will always be.
#TeamLisicki forever and always.