Williams serves up record ace tally in battling victory
DEFENDING champion Serena Williams is hoping to find an extra gear for her sixth Wimbledon final after being pushed hard in yesterday’s last-four tussle with Czech upstart Petra Kvitova.
After being broken for the first time in this year’s tournament, Williams drew on her considerable battling qualities to force a tie-break that proved to be a turning point in her 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 victory.
The win set up a final against Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, the 21st seed, and the American is targeting an improved performance as she strives for her fourth singles title at the All England Club.
“I’m still hoping to peak in the final,” said Williams. “Hopefully I can serve even better than I did today and be more consistent off the ground. On paper it looks like I should win but I have played Vera several times and she is a really good player and obviously a fighter.
“The biggest thing for me is to stay positive and not put too much pressure on myself.”
Williams’ formidable serve has earned her 80 aces already in this year’s competition – an unprecedented tally in the women’s game – but deserted her in patches against Kvitova, allowing the world No62 to snatch a shock break and go 4-2 ahead.
World No1 Williams levelled at the earliest opportunity and, having been forced to a tie-break, immediately opened up a 4-0 lead that proved decisive.
Kvitova refused to roll over in the second set, however, saving break point in her first service game and winning her second to love, but Williams finally struck at 3-2 and again at 5-2 before wrapping up a hard-earned victory.