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Radwanska puts final ambitions in reach

Last updated on: July 5, 2012 23:14 IST

Radwanska puts final ambitions in reach

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Agnieszka Radwanska could achieve all her tennis ambitions this weekend after becoming the first Pole to reach a Grand Slam final for 73 years by outwitting German Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 at Wimbledon on Thursday.

The 23-year-old, who cites winning a Grand Slam and becoming number one as her goals, will face four-times champion Serena Williams in Saturday's final knowing that victory would take her to the top of the world rankings.

"I will do everything in my power to be number one," Radwanska told reporters before succumbing to a coughing fit which caused the news conference to be cut short.

The third seed is only the second Pole to reach a Grand Slam final following Jadwiga Jedrzejowska, who was runner-up at the 1937 Wimbledon and U.S. Championships and 1939 French Championships.


Image: Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland celebrates after defeating Angelique Kerber of Germany in their women's semi-final tennis match at the Wimbledon
Photographs: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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Radwanska will face Serena in the final

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When asked about her forerunner, Radwanska broke into a smile at the journalist's pronunciation of Jedrzejowska before politely correcting it.

"I know that she was the finalist here many years ago. I'm just very happy that I can be the second one here in Wimbledon being in the final," said Radwanska who won the girls' title here in 2005.

"I think she lost in three sets that year but I will try now and we will see," she added.

Jedrzejowska was beaten at Wimbledon by Britain's Dorothy Round 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

To go one better Radwanska will need to beat Serena for the first time. The sixth seed has a 2-0 record against Radwanska and put her out of the quarter-finals at the All England Club in 2008.

"I played Serena a couple of times but it was a long time ago," Radwanska said.

"She's a very tough opponent and hitting the ball very well. Of course, she's playing great tennis on the grass. I'm just going to try to mix it up," she added.


Image: Serena Williams celebrates after defeating Victoria Azarenka in their women's semi-final match at the Wimbledon
Photographs: POOL New/Reuters

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'A bit nervous at the beginning'

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After a shaky start on Centre Court against Kerber, Radwanska proved too consistent for her friend who led the first set 3-1 following an early break.

But the winner of February's Dubai Championships found her range and grew in confidence, forcing the left-handed Kerber to run around court.

"We are really good friends, of course, but on court we're opponents and you're trying everything to make the final," Radwanska said.

"We both were a bit nervous at the beginning, of course. You really want to try your best but sometimes you want it too much and your hands are shaking about, but after that I concentrated on every point."

Radwanska broke back to level the first set at 3-3 when eighth seed Kerber netted a forehand and did so again to lead 5-3 before serving out for the set, which she sealed with an ace in under half an hour.


Image: Agnieszka Radwanska hits a return to Angelique Kerber during their women's semi-final match at the Wimbledon
Photographs: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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'My plan was to play aggressive tennis'

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The Pole broke again early in the second set and although Kerber had one huge chance to level for 3-3, when her opponent put a backhand behind the baseline following a 16-stroke rally, she wasted it sending a forehand long.

After that, Kerber never looked like getting back into the match and Radwanska sealed victory on her first matchpoint when the German sent the ball wide.

"My plan was to play aggressive tennis and make the points but she moved very well and didn't make so many mistakes," Kerber said.

"She's played a very good tournament here and she's still in the tournament. I think she has some chances in the final.

"She needs to play her game. She played very well. She moves very well on this court, make not many mistakes. If she plays like today she has a good chance," Kerber added.


Image: Agnieszka Radwanska hits a return to Angelique Kerber during their women's semi-final match at the Wimbledon
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters

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Serena overpowers Azarenka

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Serena Williams roared into a her seventh Wimbledon singles final with a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Victoria Azarenka on Thursday.

The 30-year-old American, contesting a 21st Grand Slam semi-final, was unstoppable in the opening set as Belarus's Azarenka barely got a sniff of a chance.

However, the second set was a much tighter affair as Azarenka clawed her way into the match, breaking the Williams serve for the first time in the sixth game.

She pushed the four-times champion into a tiebreak and saved a match point when Williams lobbed long but gave her opponent another chance and the American took it with her 24th ace.


Image: Serena Williams hits a return to Victoria Azarenka during their women's semi-final match at the Wimbledon
Photographs: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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