SERENA v AGA
Friday, 06 July 2012
Categories: Tennis - International
Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska to battle in Wimbledon final
JUST six weeks after she crashed out of the French Open in the first round, Serena Williams has marched into the Wimbledon final with a stunning serving performance.
Williams thumped down a Wimbledon record 24 aces to beat Australian Open champion and world No.2 Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, 6-3 7-6 (8-6), in this morning’s semi-final.
The sixth seed American will play Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska who defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber in their semi, 6-3 6-4.
"I'm so excited. I've been working so hard. I really wanted it," Williams said.
"Victoria's a great player and has been playing really well. I got a little tight in the second set – I think I was looking too far into the future and getting too excited about it. So I'm really happy I got through that second set tie-break."
In her seventh Wimbledon final, Williams is chasing her fifth All England singles trophy, 14th grand slam title and her first major victory since she won the Australian Open in 2010.
There were rumblings that Williams may have been nearing the end of her illustrious career when world No.111 Virginie Razzano bundled her out of the French Open – the 30-year-old’s first ever first-round exit in her then 47-event grand slam career and her earliest loss at a major since she was knocked out of the Australian Open second round by sister Venus in 1998.
But on Centre Court this morning, it was vintage Williams who hit 20 winners and committed just four unforced errors in the first set. She broke early in the second set to go 3-1 up, and although Azarenka – who stands to become world No.1 if Williams beats Radwanska – fought back, it meant little when the flamboyant American served a record-breaking ace 24th ace to win match point.
“I had absolutely no idea,” she said of the record. “It really didn't feel like I hit 24 aces at all.
“I honestly felt like I hit maybe 10. Like I wasn't going for that much. I was just going to play well, to
serve well, to do the best I could.
“I honestly didn't feel great on my serve today. I really didn't.
“I think yesterday I felt pretty good. I don't know. I thought my serve was off, and apparently, clearly, it wasn't, so maybe I should be off a little more.”
Radwanska started the tournament as the only player in the top 15 never to have reached a grand slam semi-final.
"This is what I've been dreaming of since I was a kid. Everybody wants to play the final of a grand slam. These are the best two weeks of my career,” said the Pole, who will replace Maria Sharapova as world No.1 if she beats Williams.
Radwanska was broken early by Kerber, her close friend, to be down 3-1, but she regrouped to win five games in a row to take the first set. She clinched the lone break of the second set and held the rest of the way to close it out. The 23-year-old hit just six unforced errors during the match.
"I really played great today," Radwanska said. "I had a tough quarter-final match and it's always tough against Angie, so it's good I had a day off yesterday,” Radwanska said.
"Of course this was the semi-finals of a grand slam, and I was nervous at the beginning - you try your best but sometimes you do too much, and your hands are shaking a little bit - but after a couple of games I loosened up out there.”
Williams said of Radwanska: "She's doing unbelievable on the tour this year. I know she'll be getting every ball back. It'll be a tough match regardless."
Pictures: GETTY IMAGES
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