Who will progress to the final of Wimbledon 2012? Let's get a closer look at the semifinal between third seed Agnieszka Radwanska and eighth seed Angelique Kerber and try to find out. The preview is courtesy of our loyal contributor Omair.
Third-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska has finally broken the Grand Slam quarterfinal spell and made her way into her very first major semifinal. The Pole's opponent in the semifinal, world No.8 Angelique Kerber, has also casted away some spells. Coming into this year's Wimbledon, she had won a total of two matches at the tournament in her four previous attempts, but now she finds herself in the semifinal, having won five straight matches.
With Radwanska and Kerber having never made a Grand Slam final, we are guaranteed to have one first time Slam finalist for the third consecutive Grand Slam (Australian Open: Victoria Azarenka, French Open: Sara Errani, Wimbledon: Radwanska or Kerber?). Also, Kerber is trying to become the first German woman to make it to the final of Wimbledon, since Steffi Graf lost the final to Lindsay Davenport in 1999.
Let us have a look at the performance of the players so far at Wimbledon 2012:
* I have used the average aces, double faults, winners and unforced errors hit by the player per match.
If we talk in terms of stats, Kerber and Radwanska are almost even in every department, with one major exception, the second serve department. Kerber has won 7% more points than Radwanska. Radwanska's serve has never been her weapon, but if she is to make her way past Kerber, she will have to make the best of her serve. They are parallel in their return games and their winners-unforced errors differential. Radwanska is somewhat better than Kerber at net as well and she would love to test her opponent's skill on the points played at net.
Both have lost one set on their way to the semifinal, in their quarterfinal victories – Radwanska defeated Maria Kirilenko in three sets and Kerber defeated Sabine Lisicki in three. Radwanska has not lost a match against any of her Top 20 opponents this year with the lone exception of Azarenka. Kerber, on the other hand, was winnless against the Top 10 prior to this year, but has gone 6-6 this year.
With Maria Sharapova out in the fourth round, Radwanska once again has a shot at the top spot, but with Azarenka in the semifinals as well, she will need to win the title and also require Azarenka to lose her semifinal match.
Kerber and Radwanska are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head encounters, however they have not met since their clash in Tokyo last year, a meeting won by Radwanska in three sets. Three of the pair's four encounters have gone to three sets and with their sights set at their first Grand Slam final, both will be highly motivated.
Both Radwanska and Kerber will have to raise their level if they are win this match. If both play with the same stats, it is a tough call, since both are evenly matched. It will come down to who can manage her nerves and handle big points in a better way. Radwanska is due for her first Slam final, but Kerber with the grit she has shown this year, also deserves to be in the final.
My mind says Radwanska in three, but I would go with Kerber.
Pick: Angelique Kerber in 3 sets