Serena Williams reaches seventh Wimbledon final after beating Victoria Azarenka

 

Serena Williams booked her
place in a seventh Wimbledon final with one of the most bruising
demolitions seen on Centre Court in recent years.

The sixth-seeded four-time champion bludgeoned the highly-fancied second seed Victoria Azarenka off court with a scintillating display of serving and power hitting, seeing her off 6-3 7-6 (8/6) to stand just one win away from a possible fifth SW19 singles title.

She sent down 24 aces - one more than the Wimbledon record she set on Saturday - and landed 45 winners in a performance that even eclipsed the one she produced to dethrone defending champion Petra Kvitova at the quarter-final stage.

Agnieszka Radwanska now lies in wait for the 30-year-old who, after a fight back to form and fitness after almost a year out, is thrilled to be back on the big stage.

"I'm so excited, I really wanted this," she said.

"Vic is a great player, she played really well and I got tight at times in the second set, just looking too far ahead and getting excited.

"It got so close in that second set. I'm just happy to have got through that tie-break."

Belarusian Azarenka rarely had a look-in, often scrambling around behind a barrage of punishing shots, and while doing so she let out a series of high-pitched noises that brought laughter from the crowd.

The Australian Open champion had little to smile about, though, as she got nowhere near Williams' serve - the weapon that underpinned her victory over Kvitova - and offered her own up at a crucial point in the first set.

She did hold her own first service game to love, though, before Williams produced a devastating game with ball in hand, her opponent getting a racket on just one of four deliveries to come her way.

It was much of the same in the fifth game, Williams sending two further aces over the net, and she was gradually eating into Azarenka's serve too, taking three deuces in the sixth game and breaking it in the eighth.

She brought up two break points with a series of pounding winners from the baseline and when Azarenka brought her in on a drop shot, she cashed the first of them in with a backhand around the net before holding for the set.

During the change of ends, some members of the crowd unfairly began to mimimic Azarenka's on-court noises, but her shrills turned to shrieks in the third game of the second set when she tamely netted to give Williams two more break points.

Again she took the first of them, drilling a forehand return to the corner, before letting out a noise of her own, with a vocal 'come on' bringing the crowd to their feet.

The 13-slam winner was not having everything her own way, though, and was broken herself in the third game when she shanked a forehand at 30-40. She then had two immediate chances to break back, but spurned them, and then held serve to a tie-break.

It appeared that nothing was going to separate them in that as the scores got to 6-6 but, when Azarenka offered match point with a forehand into the net, Williams took it, sending down a 24th ace.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain