Williams serves her way into SW19 final
Originally published on: 05/07/12 00:00
If Serena Williams collects her fifth Wimbledon title this Saturday against Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the American may have her serve to thank. During the last two weeks Williams has produced a serving master class, saving her greatest display of the tournament for her match-up with world No.2 Victoria Azarenka.
Playing in her 21st Grand Slam semi-final, Williams defeated the Australian Open champion to bring her win-loss record in the final four of majors to 18-3, but it was the 30-year-old’s serving stats that had those in the media centre flicking through the record books.
Williams’ 24 aces, the best at Wimbledon since records began in 1992, left a hapless Azarenka rooted to the spot for the majority of her return games.
"I had absolutely no idea. It really didn't feel like I hit 24 aces at all," said Williams, who has blasted 85 aces, more than all four of the men’s semi-finalists, to reach the final. Even so, the 30-year-old believes there are still improvements to be made to her serve.
"I have to look at my first serve percentage. I don't think it was that high," said Williams. "I ended up getting broken in the match. So if I can just stay relaxed and stay calm… I'm very proud of getting this far and being able to play that well. I'm just trying to do the best I can."
The 13-time Grand Slam champion will be the favourite going into Saturday’s contest against the tricky Radwanska, who’ll be playing in her maiden Grand Slam final after seeing off Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4.
"Radwanska has been playing well," admitted Williams. "She won Miami. She's been consistent this year, more consistent than I have.
"That already tells me from the beginning I really need to go out there and be ready to hit a lot of shots and be ready to play hard. She has great hands and she does everything so well. If I come out flat, I won't win."
If Williams’ relentless power and precision off the serve continues it will be difficult to prevent her getting her hands on a fifth title at SW19. If she does just that, the Williams sisters will have won an incredible 10 Wimbledon titles between them in the last 13 years.
Serena’s semi-final serving stats:
Aces – 24
First serves unreturned – 64%
First serves in – 70%
Points won on first serve – 82%
Points won on second serve – 52%
Fastest serve – 120mph
Serves wide – 31
Serves to the centre – 39
Serves to the body – 1