Standing between Serena Williams and a fifth Wimbledon title is Agnieszka Radwanska, who was the girls’ champion here in 2005.
The ground-game will be a match-up of contrasts: Serena’s direct power against Radwanska’s steady counter-thrusting style. It’s Serena’s serve, however, that will hold the key to Saturday’s contest.
If she can serve like she has so far — an incredible 85 aces, second only to Philipp Kohlschreiber on either side! — Radwanska will struggle to keep up.
But although the World No.3 has never defeated Serena, she can handle heavy-hitters, as she showed in beating Maria Sharapova in straight sets in Miami in March.
Second Polish woman
As only the second Polish woman to reach the final of a major — Jadwiga Jedrzejowska, runner-up at the 1937 Wimbledon and U.S. Championships and the 1939 French Championships, was the first — Radwanska has the opportunity to make history if she wins the title.
She’ll also become the World No.1. “I will do everything within my power to become No.1,” she said after her semifinal victory over Angelique Kerber.
“I played Serena a couple of times but it was a long time ago [both in 2008].
“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.”
Serena desperately needs the victory as well.
She won the last of her 13 Grand Slams here in 2010. Her invulnerable image has suffered in the interim: she stepped on cut glass in a restaurant not long after defeating Vera Zvonareva in the final here and the injury and subsequent medical complications forced her out of the game.
Serena did remarkably well to come back.
But losses to Marion Bartoli (2011 Wimbledon, fourth round), Samantha Stosur (2011 US Open, final), 56th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova (2012 Australian Open, fourth round) and 111th-ranked Virginie Razzano (2012 French Open, first round) have made her look beatable. She struggled in the first week, but against Petra Kvitova and in the first set against Victoria Azarenka, there were glimpses of her best. “I’m so excited, I really wanted this,” said Serena of her seventh Wimbledon final.