Serena Williams will take nothing for granted in her bid to become a four-time Wimbledon champion despite heading into tomorrow’s showpiece against Vera Zvonareva as red-hot favourite to regain the crown.
Williams powered past gutsy Czech Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 to set up her match against the experienced Russian, who came from a set down to beat Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6 6-3 6-2.
Williams said: “On paper it looks like I should win but I’ve played Vera several times and she’s beaten some good people. Her last two matches she’s been down a set so she’s obviously a fighter. She never gives up.
“She doesn’t do anything terrible. I think that’s the best way to describe her game. It’s tough playing a player like that who doesn’t really have one real weakness and everything pretty much is a strength.”
Williams has now hammered down a record-breaking 80 aces in the tournament although she was made to work hard by Kvitova, whose own power play swept her into a shock early break before the American stormed back.
Fist-pumping on every winning shot, Kvitova endeared herself to the Centre Court crowd with some stunning forehands which had Williams on the back-foot before the world number one used her experience to claw back into the game.
After edging the tie-break 7-5, Williams stepped up another gear in the second set, securing the double-break and eventually closing out the match in style - but not before a stunning 19-stroke rally had gone Kvitova’s way in the penultimate game.
Earlier Zvonareva had to work even harder to repel the early change of Venus’ conqueror Pironkova, who played some superb tennis in sweeping the first set before the Russian found her consistency and fought back.
For Zvonareva earning a place in her first grand slam final was rich reward after years of injury problems and she is steeled to face the Williams serve which she admits is a potent weapon on grass.
Zvonareva said: “It’s a very big advantage but I think if you find the timing you can return it. It’s very difficult when she’s serving well but there are moments when she may not serve as well and you have to take those chances.
“If she serves well, okay, you go to the other side and try to return the next one. But I haven’t seen anyone make 100% of first serves. So you will just have to take your chances then.”