Wimbledon Women’s SF Preview: Heavy Favorite Serena Seeks Fifth Title
by Staff | July 5th, 2012, 7:42 am

The Wimbledon women’s semifinals begin in the hour. Four-time champion Serena Williams is the clear favorite among the remaining foursome. But Serena faces former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka who earlier this season was as hot as any woman in recent years, coming out winning her first 26 matches of the season.

“Victoria’s playing unbelievable. She’s played so well this year,” Serena said Tuesday. “Already having a Grand Slam under her belt is really great. She did it in such style, so it’s not going to be easy if I play against her.”

Azarenka has lost seven of eight meetings with Serena but she did win the Australian Open in January and this week she hasn’t dropped a set.

“I lost to her most of the times, but I think we played once here only,” Azarenka said. “She’s definitely a very tough opponent. She’s a great champion. It’s going to be a tough match, no matter what. But that’s what you have to expect to have in the semifinals. We’ve had good matches, we’ve had bad matches – we’ll see.”

In the earlier semifinals, two surprises Agnieszka Radwanska meets Angelique Kerber. Neither player has ever reached a Grand Slam final before, Radwanska is appearing in her first career Major semi.

Head-to-head, it’s 2-2 between the two with their last three meetings decided in three sets, most recently with Radwanska winning in Tokyo last fall.

“I think it will be a tough one because she moves very well on grass and she doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Kerber said of Radwanska. “I’ve played against her a few times and it was not easy. I know I need to play on a high level to beat her.”

Notes (courtesy of the WTA)
Wimbledon’s semifinalists have been the form players all season, winning 11 titles (1 Slam, 9 Premier, 1 International) between them: Azarenka (4 – Sydney, Australian Open, Doha, Indian Wells), Kerber (2 – Paris Indoors, Copenhagen), Radwanska (3 – Dubai, Miami, Brussels) and Williams (2 – Charleston, Madrid). Errani, Kanepi and Sharapova are the only other players to win multiple titles so far this year.

Career grass court W-L percentages of the semifinalists: Azarenka 72.2% (26-10); Kerber 64.7% (22-12); Radwanska 72.7% (32-12); Williams 87.2% (68-10).

Nine different players have reached a Grand Slam SF this year; only Azarenka (champion at Australian Open, SF at Wimbledon), Sharapova (R-Up at Australian Open, champion at Roland Garros) and Kvitova (SF at Australian Open and Roland Garros) have reached more than one SF this year.

Defeating Williams could be a good omen for Azarenka: Serena is 17-3 in Grand Slam semifinals, and each time she has lost a semi, her conqueror has gone on to take the title – 2000 Wimbledon/V.Williams, 2003 Roland Garros/Henin, 2009 US Open/Clijsters.

Williams was the last woman to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the same year (2010) – a feat Azarenka is looking to emulate.

Kerber and Radwanska are gunning for maiden Grand Slam finals. If the winner of this SF goes all the way to the title she will be the 9th woman in the Open Era to win her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, and the 42nd woman to win a major since 1968.

Kerber would be the first German woman to reach a Grand Slam final since 1999 Wimbledon (Graf, l. Davenport); Williams is the first 30-year-old semifinalist here since Graf that year.

Should she advance, Radwanska would be the second Polish woman all-time to reach a Grand Slam final, after Jadwiga Jedrzejowska (1937 Wimbledon, 1937 US Championships, 1939 French Championships).

For the first time since 2009, all four Wimbledon semifinalists are seeded. In 2009, the Top 4 seeds arrived at their appointed slots in the SF (1 – Safina, 2 – S.Williams, 3 – V.Williams, 4 – Dementieva).

With Kerber and Radwanska both needing three sets to win their QF matches, Azarenka is the only semifinalist yet to drop a set at the event; Azarenka has dropped the fewest games (23) and spent least time on court (6h10m). Williams has conceded most games (47) and spent most time on court (8h07m).

Azarenka and Kerber are in the hunt for their career first grass court titles; both are former finalists at Eastbourne, where Radwanska won her sole grass court title in 2008. Williams won all 4 of her grass court titles at Wimbledon.

Williams has served 61 aces en route to SF; combined the other three semifinalists have delivered 37 aces (13 apiece for Azarenka and Kerber, 11 for Radwanska).

If Azarenka defeats Williams to advance to the Wimbledon final, the Belarusian will take back the No.1 ranking for a 20th career week. Even if she loses to the American, Azarenka could return to No.1 – but only if Radwanska is beaten by Williams in the final.

Centre Court  1:00 PM Start Time
Angelique Kerber (GER)[8]  v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)[3]
Serena Williams (USA)[6]  v. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[2]

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31 Comments for Wimbledon Women’s SF Preview: Heavy Favorite Serena Seeks Fifth Title

PJ Says:

This Radwanska/Kerber match is crazy entertaining. You just don’t see this tennis every day. Very refreshing to see something different. I was a fan before, but am more so a fan of Aggie.

gannu Says:

Hahaha aggie is going to be thrashed by serena…aggie is a powerless player and keeps defending…serena will munch her for her lunch on saturday…at 120mph serve serena shud be put in men’s tennis ;-)

dari Says:

Congratulations to A-Rad!

Both the other girls in the semi will be a nightmare for her, but good for her to get to her first major final!

Let’s go, Serena

Brando Says:

Is azarenka cheating here? I swear she’s grunting even when serena’s about to hit the ball. Anybody else thinks this also? I think her grunts seem to extend longer than usual.

Brando Says:

Even the commentators have picked up on it now.

Kimberly Says:

hope this is a good match. Have my assistant doing my showings just so I can watch!

Kimberly Says:

totally different match from the first one. This is all about the serve so far.

hore Says:

Serena to win it all. No one in this generation of female tennis players deserve to be No.1

Kimberly Says:

serena serving great so far

Matt Says:

Is Azarenka grunting? I’ve never thought what she does is grunting. The nicest thing I can say is it sounds like she’s singing on court, during a match.

Mark Says:

^^ Singing with prolonged tones! Lol

Mark Says:

Come on Serena finish her off!

Matt Says:

The sooner Azarenka is off court the better. What silliness.

Tod Says:

Serena is like a Man slash body builder.

How is a normal skinny Woman to beat this enormous muscular person….its ridiculous, she should be in mens tennis. 120 mph serve lmao, those shoulders….
they’re bigger then Nada’s lol.

skeezer Says:

Congrats to Serena!
She displayed calmness, and fortitude with her play today. In contrast, Zenka has to fist pump on every point and screech lke a pig every shot. This was a lot tougher match than the score told, very hard fought by both players.

Kimberly Says:

Great play by both players. Actually thought Azarenka ground game in the second was better but what can you do when someone is belting aces right and left. It puts an enormous pressure on your serve and azarenka did well to get it to a tiebreak.

Darryl Thompson Says:

This guy “Tod” is like a woman – critical of another woman’s figure. :)

Well Tod you’re so “catty” maybe you should play with the girls…

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Congrats to Serena, the class of women’s tennis for the last ten years- has there ever been an athlete who could compete with a generation younger playing half time? Truly impressive.
Federer had Rafa follow him, and then Djokovic. In the same time span no one has come up to fill Serena’s shoes, even as she’s left them empty for seasons at a time.

hore Says:

So if Serena wins the title, who will be no.1? Azaryellka?

Tod Says:

@Darryl Thompson

Well if you cant see the advantage of having double the muscle strength compared to any woman on tour(except maybe Stosur) I cant help.

Its like a featherweight vs a heavy-wight.

Its obvious shes a bodybuilder…that inst natural muscle that’s for sure..

She must be lifting 15-20 Kg dumbbells.

I’m not complaining by saying shes ugly or anything(don’t think that)…just stating the obvious.

And it is obvious!!! that she has a enormous advantage with that physic!

Your in denial if you think otherwise…

Look at her sister…sht Serena makes Stosur look like a little girl..

Either way everyone has there own opinion…but Serena’s ridiculously ripped(body builder) body is a fact!

Just deal with it.

Kimberly Says:

Does anyone think radwanska has a chance

rogerafa Says:

Only if Serena has a horrible serving day.

rogerafa Says:

@ Tod

You make some good points but the serve is not only about muscle strength. There is a lot of technique involved and Serena should be given a lot of credit for that. It is not as if she is a very tall woman who has an “unfair” advantage while serving.

Brando Says:

AGREE with rogerafa. Serena is shorter than most of the top female players- i don’t see her ever complaining about this unfair advantage.

most players who complain about her strength are nothing other than BITTER and JEALOUS.

if they can’t handle it, don’t b!tch about it then!

skeezer Says:

There are lots of disadvantages with that body type also. Serena has never been the most flexible or fastest women’s player on the tour. But she makes the most of it. She has always been very curvy. Just look at her Mom, she is not a small woman and weight gain is something she will battle with as she gets older. Not her fault….

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Can you imagine fans of the mens game complaining that Rafa, Ginepri or Safin were unfairly muscled? What a weird thing. Its an ATHLETICS competition. You are supposed to be strong.
On another note, I think Usain Bolt is too fast and should not be competing with the others.

PJ Says:

I think Radwanska has a chance, but this is really a match that will be on Serena’s racquet. I only saw the first set of her match today, but if she serves like that, it would be tough for anyone to beat her. While Radwanska certainly plays a different style than most of the top players, she isn’t completely powerless. It’s her serve that will be her biggest detriment. Serena did struggle in earlier matches against players who don’t have an abundance of power (such as Jie Zheng), but this is a grand slam final we are talking about (especially since she lost the last one she was in). I would love to see Radwanska pull out the win, but I’d be surprised. I’m hoping it will be a fun match that is competitive/close. I’m not Serena’s biggest fan, but I’ve always been impressed by her tenacity. She went down unexpectedly in the French Open first round, but fought hard to get back to the final at Wimbledon. With Radwanska, I’m impressed that she has done so well without having the power of Serena, Azarenka, Sharapova, Kvitova, etc. She hasn’t lost many matches this year outside of vs. Azarenka.

jane Says:

PJ, I’d love to see Aggy win too. But it’s unlikely. Odd that she and Serena haven’t played since 2008.

Kimberly Says:

Jane, the thing that makes it less odd is that Serena has hardly played since 2008! Lol. It seems she is joined at the hip with Azarenka though.

Michael Says:

I would say 99:1 for Serena Vs Radwanska in the final.

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