Sport's version of Are You Being Served is a step closer with confirmation Sabine Lisicki will be returning to Auckland.
The hard-hitting German's first serve stops the clock near 200km/h, setting up the prospect of the hardest-hitting match-up in ASB Classic history, with former world No 1 and seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams already confirmed for the January match.
Lisicki, 22, shot to prominence last year by making the semifinals of Wimbledon, largely behind her killer serve. Plagued by injuries earlier in her career, Lisicki is only now reaching her considerable potential.
Williams still holds the world record for the fastest serve by a female, 207km/h set at the 2007 US Open.
Lisicki has risen to fourth after hitting a 201km/h serve at Stanford this year.
The prospect of those two meeting at Stanley St will have central city chiropractors anticipating an influx of patients needing their cricked necks manipulated back into place.
While you might be able to boom your way into Wimbledon's second week with one or two weapons, the fact that Lisicki won a tour title on the hard courts of Dallas last year indicates there is far more to her than a big first serve. She also won on grass at Birmingham, England. Her breakthrough year has seen her climb to No 18 in the world rankings.
If you want a clearer illustration of how far her game has come, Lisicki this year had to win her way through qualifying to make the ASB Classic main draw, before she lost to defending champion and eventual finalist Yanina Wickmayer. "Sabine is a very likable young woman and was a delight to have here," tournament director Richard Palmer said.
"She has always shown exceptional promise and has been one of the biggest movers on the WTA circuit this year as she begins to fulfil her promise.
"Hopefully, fans will get to see her at her best and witness her big serve."
Lisicki, who is coached by her father Richard, also had a successful doubles year with Australian Samantha Stosur. They made the Wimbledon doubles final beating Kiwi Marina Erakovic in the semifinal, and also collected the Stuttgart title.
Based in Florida where she trains at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the German youngster is being compared with her legendary countrywoman Steffi Graf because of her speed around the court and her attacking cross-court shots.
SERVICE WITH A SMILE
1. Venus Williams
207.6 km/h, US Open, 2007
2. Serena Williams
206 km/h, French Open, 2010
3. Brenda Schultz-McCarthy
202.7 km/h, Indian Wells, 2007
4. Sabine Lisicki
201.2 km/h, Stanford, 2011
5. Anna-Lena Gronefeld
201.1 km/h, Indian Wells, 2009
Fastest serve: Ivo Karlovic
251km/h, Davis Cup, 2011