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From pets to Ryan Gosling, Lisicki and Bartoli uncovered

Sabine Lisicki of Germany sits on the ground during a training session on a practise court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London
Sabine Lisicki of Germany sits on the ground during a training session on a practise court at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London

By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Sabine Lisicki laughs a lot, is allergic to grass, adores her Yorkshire terrier Happy and carries animal-shaped charms in her tennis bag.

Marion Bartoli hit rock bottom recently, enjoys painting, loves her two cats, and is rather partial to actors Pierce Brosnan and Ryan Gosling.

The likes and dislikes of the two women who will battle it out in Wimbledon's women's final on Saturday have the media scrambling to find titbits on the players who started the tournament as outsiders.

Both Germany's fair-haired Lisicki and Bartoli, a dark-haired Frenchwoman, were coached by their fathers and both will rev up with music by French DJs ahead of the match with Lisicki listening to David Guetta's "Play Hard" and Bartoli opting for Bob Sinclar's "Summer Moonlight".

But differences between the two have emerged as the public decide who to support in the absence of tournament favorites including Serena Williams, who left Wimbledon after her shock defeat to Lisicki and headed to Disneyland Paris for a break.

Lisicki, 23, nicknamed "Boom Boom" for her powerful serve, has won over the crowds at Wimbledon with her easy laugh, displays of emotion on the court and tears of joy at winning.

The 28-year-old Bartoli, meanwhile, known as "The Genius" after once saying she had an IQ of 175, has come across as more of a lone wolf who is intensely focused on success after admitting she hit rock bottom recently.

"It is going to be interesting to see how these two players cope with this opportunity. There will be a lot of emotion in this," Tracy Austin, a former world number one, told Reuters.

"Marion is very bright and has kept to herself through her career. Sabine has a great demeanor and is very hard working."

LISICKI FAVOURITE

Lisicki, ranked 23rd, enters the final as the favorite against 15th-seeded Bartoli although the Frenchwoman has the advantage of having competed in the final at Wimbledon before, in 2007 when she lost to Venus Williams in straight sets.

In 2008, Lisicki lost in round one at Wimbledon to Bartoli.

"I think having the advantage of playing a final already will help me dealing with my nerves," Bartoli said on Friday.

"But then of course I have to deal with her level of game which is also very hard to deal with."

For Lisicki is a strong player on grass but ironically is allergic to grass, needing medication to control her hay fever.

Both players will have their fathers watching as they battle it out to become the newest Grand Slam champion and take home the 1.6 million pound ($2.6 million) prize money.

Lisicki's dad Richard has coached her from an early age and she paid tribute to her parents for doing everything possible to let her play, making sacrifices along the way.

"We had to cancel tournaments because we couldn't afford to go there .. It's been a big, big, challenge. So to get to this point means a lots to us," said Lisicki, who lives in Florida.

Bartoli's father Walter gave up his job as a doctor to coach his daughter who won the U.S. Open girls' title at 16 but the pair had a tempestuous relationship. This year Geneva-based Bartoli said her father would no longer coach her and she has a new team.

She alluded to personal problems in her life recently, saying this had affected her mood and her performance, but she would not give details and said she was back on top form now.

"I had some very low moments when I felt I pretty much hit rock bottom but I kept my head up and I just wanted to win some matches again," she said.

"That's what drove me every single day to go on the court, practice hard and try to improve my game."

In 2007 Bartoli claimed the reason she managed to win her semi-final match was spotting James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan in the royal box. Has she invited him or maybe the latest James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, to watch her match?

"I knew that was coming," laughed Bartoli. "Ryan Gosling maybe."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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