Wimbledon 2012: Keys to Agnieszka Radwanska Upsetting Serena Williams in Finals

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland returns a shot during her Ladies' Singles semi final match against  Angelique Kerber of Germany   on day ten of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Serena Williams is the favorite in essentially every match she plays, and that will clearly be the case on Saturday as she goes for her fifth Wimbledon title against Agnieszka Radwanska in the women's finals. This will be Radwanska's first career Grand Slam final, which means that she will enter the match with essentially no expectations.

Although there is no question that Radwanska will be nervous to some degree, she should have the ability to play loose. Williams is going to have a ton of pressure on her shoulders as she hasn't won a Grand Slam since 2010 and is looking to complete her long journey back from several injuries. Radwanska has a chance to play spoiler and perhaps she will.

Here are the three biggest keys that Radwanska must follow if she is going to have any chance of upsetting Serena in the ladies' finals.


Get First Serves In

Radwanska isn't a particularly strong server, and there is no doubt that Williams will look to take advantage of that at every opportunity. That will mostly involve Serena attacking Radwanska's second serves and going for immediate winners.

One way to combat that, though, is by getting first serves in at a good rate. That doesn't mean that Radwanska should serve at half power in order to ensure that she gets it in, but she should definitely worry more about accuracy than power.

Williams is the most powerful player in women's tennis, so Radwanska isn't going to go blow for blow with her anyway. Even if her first serves don't have a ton of pace, Radwanska can keep Serena back on her heels as long as they are landing in.

It won't be an easy task, but Radwanska should aim to get about 80 percent of her first serves in, and that should give her a legitimate upset chance.


Force Serena to Move

Serena is pretty mobile for a player her size, but she is much more comfortable when she is the one dictating play and forcing her opponent to move. If Radwanska tries to trade ground strokes with Williams, she is going to get eaten alive in this match. Radwanska needs to be as creative as possible and do everything in her power to make Serena uncomfortable on the court.

The best way to do that is to mix up her shot repertoire throughout the match. That means going baseline to baseline, utilizing angles and changing speeds and planes. Slices, drop shots and lobs should all be a part of Radwanska's game plan if she is aiming to score the monumental upset.  

Radwanska is actually the better-seeded player and has the second-most wins on tour this year, but she realizes that she is the underdog and will have to reach deep into her bag of tricks.


Don't Make Unforced Errors

Perhaps more importantly than anything, Radwanska can't afford to beat herself in this match. Serena is the more powerful player, and the more powerful player almost always dictates the pace of play. It's hard to remember a match in which Williams wasn't the aggressor, so there is no reason to think that Saturday's tilt will be any different. Radwanska should be just fine with that, but she has to get everything back in play and avoid unforced errors at all costs.

Williams is going to hit her fair share of winners, so Radwanska can't be in the business of giving points away. Serena is naturally going to hit some unforced errors in her own right and that is where Radwanska is going to gain a slight advantage.

This is obviously a very dangerous game to play since Williams could obviously blast Radwanska right out of the stadium if she is too passive, but I can't see Radwanska making enough shots to win this match. If Serena makes enough mistakes, though, you never know what might happen.


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