Serena William's hunger puts her in the mood to serve up fifth Wimbledon title

Williams and Radwanska line up in final after straight-sets semi-final victories

Wimbledon

The serve has it; Serena Williams still has it. The combination of the two factors will make tomorrow's women's singles final a formidable task for Agnieszka Radwanska from Krakow, who has the incentive as Poland's first finalist here since 1937, of becoming No 1 in the world by winning it.

In yesterday's semi-final victory, Williams sent a record 24 aces fizzing past Victoria Azarenka of Belarus – who managed one – to total 85 for the tournament and emphasise what a weapon is still at her disposal. Earlier, Radwanska, appearing in the last four of a Grand Slam event for the first time, saw off her friend Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 6-4 in an absorbing match that offered a preview of how the final is likely to shape up: Radwanska slighter and less powerful, but with significant court-craft and a range of shots. Yesterday, that was too much for Kerber, but tomorrow she must stand up to her opponent's serve in a manner that nobody else has done in this tournament.

Williams has won their previous two meetings without dropping a set. After a wretched 2011 with injuries, she is coming on strong again and will be seeking a fifth Wimbledon singles title. Furthermore, there is something to admire about a player who has earned £23m in winnings alone and is still so desperate to take every point in every match. At 30, she appears as fit as any of her younger rivals, showing little sign of strain despite having played two winning doubles matches with her sister the previous day. Little more than two hours after securing a place in the final she was back on court with Venus, winning through to the semi-final of the doubles.

At times on Centre Court, where Azarenka's high-pitched shrieking was greeted with widespread laughter and even an imitation by one spectator, the Belarusian's worst mistake in a 6-3, 7-6 defeat seemed to be inadvertently provoking her distinguished opponent with a youthful flourish. The second set was full of such moments, like when a fine cross-court winner and then taking the Williams serve to deuce for the first time were each met with an ace. When Azarenka had the temerity to do the same thing two games later, the response comprised two successive aces.

A break down at that stage, Azarenka drew level to her credit, breaking back thanks to a Williams mishit off the frame. Growing more confident, she reached the tie-break and saved a match point when Williams lobbed too long but was finally beaten, appropriately, with yet another ace.

"I've been working so hard," said Williams – another of her virtues. "Victoria is a great player and I got a little tight in the second set, looking too far into the future." Of Radwanska, she said generously: "She's doing unbelievable, she'll get every shot back." That seems unlikely in the extreme.

The Pole nevertheless has the opportunity to achieve both of her ambitions in one, by becoming world No 1 and winning a Grand Slam title. Against Kerber, the left-hander who has risen 84 places to No 8 since the start of the US Open last summer, she won a vast majority of the longer rallies and was strong on her first serve, if weak on the second. Miscuing a drop-shot in the third game caused her to drop serve but from 3-1 down she ran through five games in a row for the first set.

Kerber, who had been given a pep-talk by her compatriot Steffi Graf, stopped the rot by taking the first game of the second set to love. Striking the ball harder, she hit more winners than Radwanska but also committed more unforced errors and suffered the only break of that set to go 3-2 down after a wild backhand.

At 4-5, Kerber conceded a match point by going wide on her forehand and lost it when netting a return. "[Radwanska] played better today," she conceded. "My plan was playing aggressive tennis and making the points but she moves very well and makes not many mistakes so it was really tough. She's played a very good tournament and if she will play like today, I think she has a good chance [in the final]."

Radwanska was not keen to dwell on those chances but said: "I played very good today. I had a tough quarter-final and it was good to have a day off because it is always tough against Angie. This is what I dreamed of as a kid, to play the final of a Grand Slam so these have been the best two weeks of my career.

"For sure this tournament is already one big part of tennis history in Poland and I'm happy to be part of that."

The worst news for her is that Williams "honestly didn't feel great on my serve today". Woe betide Radwanska if she does tomorrow afternoon.

Women's final: Williams v Radwanska

The two previous meetings:

1 July 2008 Wimbledon QF (grass)

Williams eases into the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over the Pole. The second set lasts just 19 minutes as Williams blows away her 19-year-old opponent. The American is eventually defeated in the final in straight sets by her sister, Venus.

8 May 2008 German Open 3R (clay)

The first meeting between the two players sees Radwanska swept aside 6-3, 6-1 in the third round in Berlin. Williams then went on to lose to the tournament winner, Dinara Safina, in three sets in the next round.

Route to the final

Williams/Radwanska

1R Z-Strycova/Rybarikova

2R Czink/Vesnina

3R Zheng/Watson

4R Shvedova/Giorgi

QF Kvitova/Kirilenko

SF Azarenka/Kerber

TV Tomorrow, 1.30pm, BBC 1.

Odds Williams 1-6, Radwanska 4-1

SW19 in numbers

1 Radwanska is Poland's first Grand Slam finalist of the Open Era.

92 Kerber's world ranking before the 2011 US Open – she made the semis.

13 Grand Slam titles won by Williams.

85 Aces by Serena Williams at Wimbledon this year.

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
VIDEO
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'
tv
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit