It took her 47 Grand Slams and 12 years, but Marion Bartoli can now finally call herself a Grand Slam winner.
Bartoli overwhelmed an out of sorts Sabine Lisicki 6-1 6-4 on a sun-drenched Centre Court to win her first Wimbledon title on Saturday.
"As a small girl I dreamed about this moment," Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up, said in a courtside interview after lifting the Venus Rosewater dish.
Those 5-10 seconds after you have won, before you shake your opponents hand, it feels like you are not on earth, it feels like you are flying
"Finishing with an ace to win Wimbledon, even in my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined that. Honestly, I cannot believe it. I have practiced my serve for so long, at least I kept it for the best moment!"
Frenchwoman Bartoli, seeded 15th, took full advantage of a desperately nervous performance by her German opponent who knocked out defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round.
"I think it helped that I had so much fun the whole two weeks, it has just been perfect," said Bartoli.
"You can't describe in words how it feels, I still don't believe it. I will have to see it on TV, DVDs to believe it. Those 5-10 seconds after you have won, before you shake your opponents hand, it feels like you are not on earth, it feels like you are flying."
Lisicki, the 23rd seed, broke Bartoli's serve in the opening game of the match but the Frenchwoman hit straight back and took advantage of 14 unforced errors by the German to secure the opening set in 31 minutes.
Lisicki's booming serve never functioned smoothly and Bartoli, seeded 15th, kept the ball away from her dangerous forehand to move within one set of her first grand slam title.
Lisicki left the court to try to compose herself and held serve in the opening game of the second set but she wasted four break points in Bartoli's first service game and the Frenchwoman pounced to break for a 2-1 lead.
Struggling to hold back tears, Lisicki dropped her serve again to trail 4-1 and Bartoli had three match points at 5-1.
The German bravely saved them, however, and suddenly found her form, breaking Bartoli to trail 3-5 and holding serve comfortably to raise hopes of an unlikely comeback.
But the 28-year-old Bartoli regrouped and held serve to love, sealing her first grand slam title on her fourth match point with her sixth ace.
"We are good friends - I am disappointed but happy for her as well," said Lisicki.
"I tried the usual things to calm me down, like breathing exercises, but this time they didn't work.
"In the second set I tried to enjoy myself again and convince myself to have fun. I was still on the court I love the most.
"I admire Marion for the way she has kept going. This is her second time and she won it. It's a good story I think."
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies