Agnieszka Radwanska became the first Polish Grand Slam finalist for 73 years as the world number three cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Thursday.
Radwanska’s first appearance in a Grand Slam final emulates the achievement of compatriot Jadwiga Jedrzejowska, who reached the French Championships final in 1939.
The 23-year-old – a Wimbledon junior champion in 2005 – will play four-time champion Serena Williams or world number two Victoria Azarenka in Saturday’s final.
Composed and consistent
Radwanska deserved her moment of glory on Centre Court after a remarkably composed 70-minute display in her first major semi-final and she could yet leave London as both Wimbledon champion and the new world number one.
Deploying a consistent counter-punching game, Radwanska made just six unforced errors compared to 14 from the more aggressive but unfocused Kerber, who had been attempting to become the first German woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Steffi Graf at Wimbledon in 1999.
“I’m so happy, it’s amazing. I played very good today,” Radwanska said.
“It’s always tough against Angie. We are very good friends but of course on court we were both fighting for the final.
“I think we were both a bit nervous in the beginning, your hand is shaking a bit, but after a couple of games I relaxed.
“This is what I dreamed of since I was a kid. Everyone wants to reach a Grand Slam final. It is the best two weeks of my career.”
Radwanska’s victory over Maria Kirilenko in the quarter-finals had ended four years of frustration after she suffered last eight losses at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2009 and three defeats at the same stage of the Australian Open. With that burden erased from her mind, Radwanska was able to play with freedom against eighth seed Kerber – once she recovered from an early break in the third game.
Radwanska immediately retrieved that break and then broke for a 5-3 lead thanks to a pair of crucial Kerber miscues on the backhand side.
The Pole closed out the set with a blistering ace that left Kerber rooted to the spot.
Kerber started the second set with an aggressive approach, but if that was an attempt to knock Radwanska out of her stride it didn’t work. Instead, her go-for-broke policy backfired as a series of errors handed Radwanska a break in the fifth game of the second set.
Kerber’s last chance came when she earned a break point at 2-3, but she couldn’t convert as Radwanska cleverly moved her out of position to save the break before serving out the biggest win of her life.