Williams: I didn’t feel I was playing that well

Serena Williams left the Centre Court crowd in Wimbledon open-mouthed with a brutal dismantling of Victoria Azarenka yesterday, but was adamant she had not actually performed that well.

The 30-year-old was almost unplayable as she booked her place in a seventh Wimbledon final, crushing the second seed with an awesome display of serving and hitting from the baseline.

She sent down an All England Club record 24 aces and landed 45 winners as she left Azarenka squealing behind the baseline.

Williams though didn’t feel she’d played all that well.

“During the match I thought I didn’t serve that well,” she said.

“I didn’t think that my percentages were up there. I had no idea I had served that many aces. It didn’t feel like it. During the match I was just thinking... I had no idea I had hit that many.’’

Earlier Agnieszka Radwanska became the first Pole for 75 years to reach a Wimbledon singles final and warned she will not be overawed by grass-court queen Serena tomorrow.

Radwanska knew all about her illustrious late compatriot, Jadwiga Jedrzejowska, who reached finals at Wimbledon, the French Open and the US Open in the late 1930s.

Radwanska was still a teenager when she played Williams on the only two occasions they have met, so she was keen to play down the significance of those two matches, in which she won a combined total of just eight games.

“It was a long time ago,” she said.

“But it’s always tough. She’s a very tough opponent and hitting the ball very well. Of course she’s playing great tennis on the grass. I think I don’t really have anything to lose, so I’m just going to try my best.”

Radwanska’s post-match press conference was curtailed as she struggled to speak, apparently due to a dry throat.

The strain of seeing off Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-4 on Centre Court earlier may have been having an impact.

While left-hander Kerber struck a powerful ball throughout, nobody in the women’s game matches ferocity and precision quite like Williams.

“Every player is different, but most of the players are very powerful,” Radwanska said. “I’m just going to try to mix up everything.”

Radwanska was a girls’ singles champion at Wimbledon in 2005, and would love to go one step further than Jedrzejowska, who died in 1980, and carry off the women’s title.

Meanwhile Williams’s meeting with Radwanska will fall just a year after Williams made her return to the tour after a lengthy spell out with injury.

She cut her foot after standing on glass and a series of complications followed, and in her absence, many predicted that the era of dominance her and sister Venus had enjoyed was coming to an end.

The likes of Radwanska, Azarenka and defending champion Petra Kvitova were all expected to spearhead that movement but, if Williams can win tomorrow, she will have defeated all three in succession.

She is not willing to make too many predictions, though, and is just satisfied to be back playing at a high standard again.

“I’m very proud of getting this far and playing that well,” she said.

“I’m just trying to do the best I can. It’s been amazing this last year. I got to the final of the US Open after my injury and, a year ago I had just started playing again.

“This has all been really good and I am so grateful.

“I have so much appreciation for every moment on the court. I really take pride in playing, especially amazing moments like this. I just want to do the best I can.”

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