05 Jul 2012

Serena and Radwanska set up final showdown

News Article

Photo: Paul ZimmerSerena Williams (USA)

DAY 10: Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska will meet in the women’s singles final at Wimbledon after they both prevailed in their semifinal matches in straight sets on Thursday.

Williams came through an edgy second set tiebreak to defeat world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka 63 76(6), while Radwanska, playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal, showed few signs of nerves as she overcame Angelique Kerber 63 64.

Radwanska, the world No. 3, was first up on Centre Court against Kerber, and it was actually the German who settled quicker by breaking Radwanska’s opening service game.

The Pole quickly redressed the balance, however, and gained two breaks of her own in the sixth and eighth games, helping her on a run of winning five straight games to take the set.

Radwanska had one break point in the second set, which she converted, and that was all the advantage she needed to proceed and serve out the match, becoming the first Polish woman in 75 years to reach a Grand Slam final.

Williams, who is bidding to win the Wimbledon title for a fifth time, extended her head-to-head lead over Azarenka to an impressive 8-1 with this victory.

Azarenka looked in danger of a quick defeat when she trailed by a set and a break, but the Belarusian dug deep to break Williams, something that hasn’t happened very often this fortnight.

The second set headed into a tiebreak and Williams had the opportunity to win at 6-5, but a wayward forehand lob went sailing long of Azarenka’s baseline and players changed ends all-square.

Azarenka couldn’t capitalise, though, and netted a routine groundstroke on the next point to hand Williams, ranked No. 6, a second match point.

This time the American had the balls in her hand and made no mistake as she delivered yet another deadly serve down the middle, her 24th ace of the match.

Williams and Radwanska have met twice before, both of them in 2008 and one of them on grass in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. The American is yet to be defeated.

Given the head-to-head record and her greater experience in this type of occasion, Williams will undoubtedly go into the final as favourite, but Radwanska is in the form of her life and will take some beating.

The final is scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon. Beforehand, the men’s singles semifinals will be played on Friday with Novak Djokovic taking on Roger Federer, and Andy Murray facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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