Wimbledon Women’s SF Preview: Heavy Favorite Serena Seeks Fifth Title
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).
WORLD NO.1 RANKING ON THE LINE IN SW19
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) v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
Serena Williams (USA) v. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Also Check Out:
Australian Open Women’s Preview: Will Serena Win A Sixth Australian Open?
Serena v Lefty, Crying Game v Slicy in Wimbledon Women’s Semis
Andy Roddick on Williams Sisters Return: “Women’s Tennis Needs That Dominating Figure”
US Open Draws: Women’s Singles Preview
Olympic Tennis Women’s Draw Preview: Serena Tough Start