Venus turns up the power
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:38
The five-times champion defeated Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 6-2 in one hour and eight minutes to stay on course to become the first woman since Steffi Graf to win the trophy in three successive years.
The speed gun clocked one first-set ace at 120mph and Williams can rarely have struck her groundstrokes with more venom in 62 previous match victories in SW19.
The older Williams tennis sister has tasted defeat on just seven occasions in that time and the way she is brushing aside opponents it would be a brave man who would bet against her contesting the final again come Saturday.
The first set went by in a blur, Radwanska struggling to control her nerves as much as the pace emanating from the Williams racket.
The loudest cheer on Court One greeted her only success in the sixth game when at last her forehand began to reap some reward.
To her credit she dug in at the start of the second set, breaking the Williams serve in the second game to love, albeit with the assistance of an untypical double fault.
The pivotal game was the fifth and saw Radwanska, who last year became the first Polish woman to break into the world top 10, battle bravely through prolonged rallies – only to drop serve following a rat-a-tat exchange of volleys which ended with Williams smashing the ball home, accompanied by a punch of her fists.
From then on the American power once more took over, those long arms retrieving everything Radwanska could muster, the pick of her shots being the one double-handed cross-court backhand winner to break serve in the seventh game.
Williams duly served out for the victory and the message was clear. The champion is the player to beat.