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TENNIS > Serena vs Radwanska in Wimbledon final

WIMBLEDON, England - The Associated Press

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Agnieszka Radwanska. AFP photo

Agnieszka Radwanska. AFP photo

Instead of counting Serena Williams out at Wimbledon, it was much easier to count her aces.

About a month after losing in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her career, Williams hit a tournament-record of 24 aces on July 5 to reach her seventh Wimbledon final.

“I honestly didn’t feel great on my serve today. I really didn’t,” Williams said after beating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 7-6 (6) on Centre Court. “I thought my serve was off, and apparently clearly it wasn’t, so maybe I should be off a little more.”

Williams has won 13 Grand Slam titles, with the last one coming at the All England Club two years ago. Shortly after that victory, Williams cut her feet on glass at a restaurant, leading to a series of health problems, including being hospitalized for clots in her lungs.

“I have so much appreciation for every moment on the court,” Williams said. “I really take pride in playing, especially playing such big, amazing tournaments like this.”

In the final on July 7, Williams will face Agnieszka Radwanska. The third-seeded Radwanska beat Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 in the other semifinal to become the first Polish player to reach a Grand Slam final in 73 years.

“I’m just going to try to mix it up,” said Radwanska. “Of course, every match is different, so I’ll see after tomorrow how it’s going to be.”

Williams and older sister Venus have been ever-present at Wimbledon since the turn of the century, with one or both reaching the final in 11 of the past 13 tournaments. Between them, they have won nine titles at the All England Club.

Radwanska won the semifinal with her steady play, claiming five straight games to close out the first set after going down a break early. She’ll need more of that to have a chance against Williams.

“She’s been consistent this year, more consistent than I have,” Williams said of Radwanska.

Radwanska can take over the top ranking if she beats Williams. But just reaching the first major final of her career, is an achievement for both her and Poland.

The last Polish player to reach a major final was Jadwiga Jedrzejowska. But she lost in the final of the 1939 French Championships.

“I’m just very happy that I can be the second one here in Wimbledon, being in the final,” said Radwanska. “But I will try now and we will see.”

July/07/2012

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