Rivals say Serena Williams is the player to beat

  • Follow Other sports

WIMBLEDON, England — Judging by results this year, Serena Williams shouldn’t be considered the favorite among the four remaining women at Wimbledon.

She’s won fewer matches in 2012 than any of the other three semifinalists, has just the third-highest ranking among them and is by far the oldest of the group.

But when it comes to crunch time in a Grand Slam tournament, there’s usually no one better.

Williams is two wins away from her 14th major title, while the other three semifinalists have one Grand Slam victory among them. Two of them – Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber – have never been in a major final.

So while Williams still has to get past Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka today, there’s no question who her rivals view as the player to beat.

“Serena is just great champion. When she’s on fire, I really don’t want her on my part of the draw. That’s for sure,” said the third-ranked Radwanska. “I think she’s still in shape. She’s still looking good on court. She’s playing still a good tennis, running like (she’s) 18 years old.”

Williams, though, was quick to point out that momentum also plays a part, and that Azarenka has an edge in that department. The Belarusian started the year with a 26-match winning streak that included her first Grand Slam title in Australia.

“She’s had a better year than I have,” Williams said. “She’s been so successful already, like I said, winning a Grand Slam. Going against a player like that, I feel like she almost has an advantage, I guess. So that makes me really relaxed and I can just kind of hit.”

DOUBLING UP: Serena Williams had to earn two doubles victories with older sister Venus on Wednesday.

The sisters were finally able to complete their second-round match against Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova that started on Saturday but was suspended by rain, winning 3-6, 6-3, 9-7. They returned to the court a few hours later to beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-3 and move into the quarterfinals.

Serena needed her left ankle re-taped during that match but her father, Richard, said it was nothing to worry about ahead of Thursday’s semifinal. Serena is aiming for her fifth Wimbledon title in singles.


Search Augusta jobs