Serena Blasts Wimbledon with Record 24 Aces
Wimbledon, United Kingdom
Sixth seed Serena Williams used a tournament-record 24 aces to defeat Victoria Azarenka, 6-3, 7-6 (6) and advance to the final for the seventh time at Wimbledon.
Williams, who topped her mark of 23 aces set last week, only has No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska as stumbling block in her quest for a fifth Wimbledon championship. She won at the All-England Club in 2002-03 and 2008-09.
"I'm so excited. I've been working so hard. I really wanted it," said Williams, who unleashed 23 aces in the third round against 25th seed Zheng Jie to eclipse the old Wimbledon mark of 20 which she also posted.
"Victoria's a great player and has been playing really well. I got a little tight in the second set - I think I was looking too far into the future and getting too excited about it. So I'm really happy I got through that second set tie-break."
Williams will be gunning for her 14th Grand Slam title against Radwanska.
Earlier, the No. 3 Radwanska made it to the finals of a Grand Slam event for the first time by defeating Angelique Kerber, 6-3, 6-4, in the other semifinal pairing.
"She's doing unbelievable on the tour this year," Williams said of Radwanska. "I know she'll be getting every ball back. It'll be a tough match regardless."
For her part, Radwanska had a slow start, getting broken early and falling behind 3-1, but she regrouped quickly, winning five games in a row to take the first set; she got the lone break of the second set and held the rest of the way to close it out.
"I really played great today," Radwanska said. "I had a tough quarterfinal match and it's always tough against Angie, so it's good I had a day off yesterday.
"Of course this was the semifinals of a Grand Slam, and I was nervous at the beginning - you try your best but sometimes you do too much, and your hands are shaking a little bit - but after a couple of games I loosened up out there."
Radwanska was already the first Polish player in the Open Era, male or female, to reach a Grand Slam semifinal; now she is the first one to reach a final too. She is also going to break into the Top 2 on the new rankings - if she wins the final she will be No.1 in the world, if she loses the final she will be No.2.
Kerber was trying to become the first German in 13 years to reach a Grand Slam final - the last one was Steffi Graf, a runner-up at Wimbledon in 1999.
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