Thursday, January 28, 2016

Serena Williams storms to final with win over Agnieszka Radwanksa

For all the thrashings dished out during her famed career, Serena Williams can't have delivered too many more brutal performances than the one displayed under the roof of Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

As the rain tumbled outside, Williams' reign showed no signs of abating, with the world No.1 charging through to her seventh Australian Open final.

"I'm really excited to be in another final. It kind of blows my mind right now," Williams said on-court after the match.

Agnieszka Radwanska is theoretically among the world's elite female tennis players. But the Polish fourth-seed barely managed to flounder, overwhelmed in the face of Williams' power game, and succumbed 6-0 6-4 in an hour and four minutes.

The odds were always stacked against the Pole, whose only victory against Williams came at the exhibition Hopman Cup last year. Then there was the fact that the 21-time major winner entered the match with a 25-4 record in grand slam semi-finals, which did little to inspire confidence that the 2012 Wimbledon finalist Radwanska could provide an upset.
And so it proved. Broken twice before she sat down for the first proper interval, Radwanska won just seven points in a first set lasting just 20 minutes.

Two-time Australian Open champion Chris Evert had quipped pre-match on ESPN that Radwanska only stood a chance "if Serena was is a little bit off her game".

She was right in the sense that the second set was much more evenly matched, with Williams not moving as nimbly as she had earlier in the afternoon. Her first serve percentage dropped off too, and Radwanska even managed to break Williams in the sixth game of the set. That only came after Williams had already broken though, and by the ninth game of the set she would do so again.

Serving for the match, Williams served three straight aces, before closing it out with a forehand winner.

Williams has been wearing yellow and black at this year's tournament. But unlike the AFL team that wears those colours, the 34-year-old is pretty good at winning come the pointy end of proceedings. Whichever of Johanna Konta or Angelique Kerber has the misfortune of facing the American in Saturday night's final will need a miracle.

Sydney Morning Herald

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