Agnieszka Radwanska had the worrying record of being the only woman currently in the top 15 never to have made the semifinals of a Grand Slam, but she addressed it in fine fashion here at Wimbledon late on Tuesday night.
Radwanska’s quarterfinal with Russia’s Maria Kirilenko had been suspended on No.1 Court at a set all and four-all in the decider. The match was shifted to Centre Court, appropriately roofed, after Victoria Azarenka had booked a semifinal meeting with Serena Williams, and Radwanska took 15 minutes to complete a 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 win.
“There are no words to describe it,” said the Polish World No. 3. “The day for me was like 40 hours. I was waiting in the locker room almost the whole day.
“It was raining and windy outside, then at the end we played under the roof too, so I’m so happy I could finally close it out in three sets after almost three hours. It’s much better to finish it in the same day than to wait another day.”
Radwanska could become the World No.1 if she wins the title and Azarenka loses in the semifinals. She next meets Angelique Kerber, who held her nerve after squandering three match points in the second set to defeat a spirited Sabine Lisicki in a tight three-setter.
“The final from Eastbourne (against Tamira Paszek) was on my mind, where I lost with match points also,” said the left-handed Kerber.
“It was very tough. I had no chance in some games because Sabine served so well. She made the points and I had no plan. But I knew I just needed to play until the last point.”
Kerber, who was out of the top 100 as recently as last August, has risen phenomenally, reaching the semifinals of the 2011 U.S. Open and ascending to World No.8. Both she and Radwanska will be looking to make their first major final when they play on Thursday.
Azarenka fired 33 winners to Paszek’s 25 to win their quarterfinal match 6-2, 7-6(4) on Tuesday night. Initially scheduled to follow the Radwanska-Kirilenko match on No. 1 Court, the contest was shifted to Centre Court (and ended up being followed by the last four games of Radwanska-Kirilenko).
Paszek played strong, determined tennis, but Azarenka was always a step ahead. “You could see whenever she was down, she was really going for it,” said Azarenka. “I had to stay composed and try to stay with her and get the opportunity when I could.”