LONDON - Sabine Lisicki has sharpened her biggest weapon ahead of Wimbledon, nailing a world record for aces in a women's singles match.
The German blasted 27 aces in her second-round Aegon Classic triumph over Belinda Bencic on Wednesday, and more such big-serving performances in Birmingham will ensure that she is a contender at the All England club.
Former Wimbledon finalist Lisicki hit 16 aces in the first set and had 11 more in the second set en route to a 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) victory.
"It's nice to have another record," said Lisicki, whose 210.8kmh effort at the 2014 Stanford Classic remains the fastest women's serve ever.
"It's obviously a good weapon to have on grass. And I love playing on grass."
The previous record for aces in one match was held by Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, who hit 24 in Tokyo in 2008, and Serena Williams, who also unleashed 24 aces at Wimbledon in 2012.
Lisicki, the 2011 Birmingham champion and 2013 Wimbledon runner-up, added: "It's always special to come back to a tournament you've won before, but it's not only that. All the memories I have playing in England, winning here and doing so well at Wimbledon - it's all so nice."
French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka did not enjoy his time in London as much on Wednesday, bowing out of the Aegon Championships 6-7 (4-7), 6-7 (11-13) to South African Kevin Anderson.
Anderson hurled down 22 aces, the last one on match point, to send Wawrinka packing at the prestigious Wimbledon curtain-raiser. Wawrinka will rue the two set points he failed to convert on Anderson's delivery at 6-5 in the opening set but even more so the two he had in a drawn-out second-set tie-break after recovering from 3-6 down.
The forehand he sprayed wide at 11-10 when the court was at the world No. 4's mercy produced a look of disbelief. "Not my day with tie-breaks," said the second-seeded Swiss.
Anderson, the world No. 17, now has four consecutive wins against Wawrinka.
"I think it gives me confidence, knowing the guy I beat today just won the French Open and I watched him playing and beat the best players in the world doing it," he said after moving into the quarter-finals, where he will face Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez today.
Grigor Dimitrov yesterday joined the growing list of star casualties at Queen's Club, as the defending champion was beaten 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) by Gilles Muller in the second round.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
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