Agnieszka Radwanska through to Wimbledon final after beating Angelique Kerber
Thursday 05 July 2012
Agnieszka Radwanska ended Poland's 75-year wait for a Wimbledon singles finalist as she crushed Angelique Kerber's title hopes.
Radwanska triumphed 6-3 6-4 on Centre Court and will face Serena Williams or Victoria Azarenka in Saturday's title match.
Jadwiga Jedrzejowska was a Wimbledon runner-up for Poland in 1937.
But world number three Radwanska is Poland's first grand slam singles finalist in the open era, which began in 1968, and it was her defence which was key in fending off Kerber.
Kerber started well with an early break and the 24-year-old led 3-1 in the opener but Radwanska's greater consistency then outstripped the German's attacking ploys.
Hard-hitting left-hander Kerber had taken out Kim Clijsters and Sabine Lisicki in the earlier rounds, and her bold shots were landing where she planned initially.
If that had continued, Radwanska may have struggled, but Kerber became inconsistent.
"I played really well today," Radwanska said. "I think we were both a little nervous at the beginning.
"This is what I was dreaming of since I was a kid. It's everyone's dream to play tennis in a grand slam final."
The pair began with love service games and the first nine points went with serve, the sequence ending when Radwanska lashed a forehand into the net.
She repeated the error to be pegged to 30-all, and Kerber brought up break point by outrallying Radwanska and opening up the court to plant away a forehand to the right corner.
She took the chance, again outmanoeuvring Radwanska.
Kerber's hitting became erratic in the sixth game and Radwanska broke back to 30, before racing through the next three, finishing the set with an ace.
Kerber fell a break behind in the fifth game of the second set when she firstly sent a cross-court backhand wide and then found the net on the next point.
Her chance to become Germany's first women's finalist since Steffi Graf in 1999 was quickly fading.
Kerber looked sure to have a break chance in the sixth game when she delivered a deep smash that Radwanska reached but could only float a yard over the net.
Kerber drove the ball across court to the right corner but Radwanska read her intentions, got across in time, and fired a winner down the line.
Briefly Kerber was lifted by winning a dramatic rally for the next point and soon she did have an opening to take the game against serve, only to spurn it by hammering a service return too long.
When Radwanska took the game to lead 4-2, it was hard to see her wasting the opportunity.
Radwanska was looking to firstly reach the final and then go one step further than her late compatriot Jedrzejowska, who died in 1980.
Kerber made Radwanska serve for the match at 5-4, but the 23-year-old did not falter.
A crunching backhand winner from Kerber gave the German the first point, but Radwanska snagged the next three to bring up two match points.
And after another long rally, Kerber lofted a sliced backhand into the tramlines to spark a jump for joy from her opponent.
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