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STEPHENS IS SHAKEN BY BAR BREAK.

Byline: JAMES NURSEY

SLOANE STEPHENS claimed she may have been a victim of "gamesmanship" after another controversial Grand Slam exit.

Experienced Marion Bartoli infuriated the crowd on Court No.1 by demanding rain stop play when Stephens was serving to stay in the first set.

The American was 5-4 down and on deuce when 2007 runner-up Bartoli insisted the game be halted. The Frenchwoman returned to break Stephens and went on to win 6-4 7-5. Stephens suffered another heartbreaking loss earlier this year, against Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Stephens (below) had broken Azarenka in the second set to make it 5-4 when the Belarusian took a lengthy medical time out and returned to win.

Asked if she was a victim of gamesmanship here, Stephens replied: "I don't know. Who knows? It would have been nice to finish that game. Coming back and serving at deuce, that's always going to be tough for anyone."

Bartoli's actions turned the Wimbledon crowd against her and some booed the 15th seed.

Bartoli responded: "I didn't really get why the crowd was so against me for that. When it gets wet it can really get dangerous. I didn't want to hurt myself." y crowd me it y It Bartoli now faces Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens who shocked former champion Petra Kvitova 4-6 6-3 6-4. s ns mer va 4-6 Flipkens said: "It's more than a dream come true. Last year I did not even get into the qualifying at Wimbledon. I was 260th in the world and today I am in the semi-finals."

Sabine Lisicki continued her fine form after knocking out defending champion Serena Williams by easily beating Laura Robson's conqueror, Kaia Kanepi, 6-3 6-3. And Lisicki is determined to enjoy her success after slipping to 218th in the world in March 2011 after a serious ankle injury left her on crutches. She said: "Three years ago I had to learn how to walk again and that has made me appreciate every single moment out there."

The German will play Agnieszka Radwanska in the other semi-final after the Polish No.4 seed beat Li Na 7-6 4-6 6-2.

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STORMY SCENES Bartoli walks off as rain falls
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 3, 2013
Words:368
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