Lisicki, the German-born 23rd-seeded player who has been nicknamed "Boom Boom" for her powerful serve, and Bartoli, the 15th-seeded Frenchwoman who hits with both hands from both sides and plays air tennis between points, won dramatically different semifinal matches Thursday on Centre Court.
Lisicki, who came back from an 0-3 deficit against Serena Williams in a fourth-round upset, pulled off a similar comeback Thursday to defeat No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 6-4, 2-6, 9-7, in an ever-shifting battle of wills. Bartoli had an easier time, dispatching No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, 6-1, 6-2, in 62 minutes.
Different as their triumphs were, both women displayed enough strengths to suggest either can prevail Saturday.
Lisicki and Radwanska played a splendid match that was soured only by their exchanging the briefest of handshakes and Radwanska, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up, making a quick exit.
"Should I just be there and dance?" Radwanska said of hurrying off after the 2-hour 18-minute match.
Lisicki lingered to sign autographs, but she had reason to savor the moment. Although first-week upsets had thrown the women's field into chaos, she had a tough draw and had to beat 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur before she beat Williams. That made her gutsy comeback on Thursday infinitely enjoyable.
"Overwhelmed. I'm just so happy," she said. "Couldn't be any better, and couldn't be any better place to play the first Grand Slam final."
Maybe "Comeback Kid" is a better nickname after her second comeback from 0-3 in the third set. "I just hung in there and played every single point," Lisicki said.
Radwanska, who had both thighs tightly bandaged, went ahead, 6-5, in the third on a service winner, but Lisicki responded with a splendid service game that included a 115 mph serve and pulled even at 6-6.
Radwanska regained the lead with an ace, only to have Lisicki pull even at 7-7 when a cross-court shot hit the net and fell back on Radwanska's side.
Lisicki broke Radwanska's serve for an 8-7 lead and served for the match for the second time. Radwanska staved off one match point, but Lisicki finished it off with a forehand winner, becoming the first German woman to reach the Wimbledon final since Steffi Graf was the runner-up to Lindsay Davenport in 1999.
"I think I haven't realized it yet," said Lisicki, who received a good-luck text from Graf before the match. "When I arrived here at the tournament I just said that anything's possible. That's what I believed. I still do."
It was impossible for Flipkens, battling a sore knee that she reinjured in the first set Thursday, to seriously challenge a sharp Bartoli. So relaxed was Bartoli that she napped for 15 minutes in the members' locker room before entering the court.
Flipkens didn't blame her knee for her woes and instead took the high road by praising Bartoli.
"I tried my slices. She didn't have any problem with that. I tried the drop shot. She got it," Flipkens said. "I played a passing [shot], she came to the net. I tried a lob. I tried everything, actually."
Bartoli, 28, believes she's a more complete player than when she lost the 2007 Wimbledon final to Venus Williams in straight sets.
"The last time I was so young, in a way," Bartoli said. "I was every time the underdog coming out on the court, which this time it was totally the opposite. I was this time the highest-ranked player and I needed to put out a great performance in order to go through."
Lisicki has a 3-1 career edge over Bartoli, but they've split their two matches on grass, a first-round win for Bartoli at Wimbledon in 2008 and a three-set quarterfinal win for Lisicki here in 2011.
"It's another challenge," Lisicki said, "and I'm looking forward to it."
The last American singles competitors were eliminated long ago, but Bob and Mike Bryan of Camarillo retained their chance to hold all four Grand Slam doubles titles at once.
The top-ranked duo advanced to Saturday's final with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Rohan Bopanna of India and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France, setting up a title match against the 12th-seeded duo of Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil.