Acerena, that's how we can call Serena Williams from now on. In today's Wimbledon semifinal victory, the American fired 24 aces, the 24th in style, on the match point, that is actually 4×6 one whole set, bettering her personal best of 23 achieved only three rounds ago against Zheng Jie. Serena's total number of aces at Wimbledon 2012 up to the final is 85, while second-ranked in that department is quarterfinalist Sabine Lisicki with 35. Can Williams' serving impress you more? You bet she can! Today against world No.2 Victoria Azarenka, Williams hit those 24 aces without making a single double fault! I don't like using multiple exclamation marks, but I feel like using five at this point.
You remember that in our preview we mentioned that Azarenka's pre-semifinal stats were 9% better than Serena's on the net and 13% better on the receiving points won, but today the sixth-seeded Serena lifted up her level there as well, winning 71% to Azarenka's 73% on the net and 36% to Azarenka's 27% of the receiving points won. In winners to unforced errors differential Serena was brutally dominant, hitting 45 winners to Azarenka's 14, and 14 unforced errors to Azarenka's just 5 less. Final score: 6-3 7-6(6). Williams has now won her last eight matches against Top 2 players, in straight sets!
Moreover, the day before the semifinal, Acerena played two doubles matches alongside sister Venus, won them both to reach the quarterfinal, and today shortly after her win in singles, Acerena got back to the court and celebrated yet another victory with Venus, reaching the Wimbledon doubles semifinal where they will face top seeds Liezer Huber and Lisa Raymond. Every time the Williams sisters play doubles at Wimbledon, one of them wins the singles title. That tradition can very well be continued as Serena takes on first-time Grand Slam finalist Agnieszka Radwanska in the title match.
Actually, the third-seeded Radwanska was the only Top 15 player never to have been in a Grand Slam semifinal, but she cast that spell away at this Wimbledon and even reached the last match of the tournament in singles by eliminating Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-4. Hitting just six unforced errors in the entire match, Radwanska recovered from a 3-1 deficit in the first set to take five games in a row and win the set, while in the second set a sole break in the fifth game allowed Radwanska to establish herself as a victor over Kerber.
If Radwanska wins the final she will climb to No.1 in the WTA rankings for the first time. Given Serena's serving and experience, few of us believe that can happen, but who knows. Moreover, Radwanska was already the first Pole in the Open Era, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam semifinal, and now she is the first one in the final. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)