But Lisicki wouldn’t fold.
“I put more pressure on her,” she said. “I started to be more aggressive again.”
One missed backhand by Williams, then a pair of winners by Lisicki, erased the break points, and she wound up holding with a 95 mph ace and 115 mph service winner. At 4-all, deuce, Lisicki hit a forehand passing shot after Williams tripped, making it break point. Williams then awkwardly sailed an overhead long, putting Lisicki ahead 5-4.
Suddenly serving for the biggest win of her career, Lisicki double-faulted to give Williams a break point — and an opening. But it was Lisicki who closed strongly, hitting a 113 mph ace and a 99 mph service winner, and then ending a 17-stroke exchange with a forehand winner.
Lisicki dropped to her knees near the net, covering her face as tears flowed.
Williams was asked whether the pressure to win got to her.
“Not at all,” she said. “I mean, every time I step out on the court, I’m the favorite.”
That sort of thing hasn’t mattered one bit at this Wimbledon.
Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich