Williams vs Radwanska: Expert Predictions for Women's Finals

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Serena Williams of the USA returns a shot during her Ladies' Singles semi final match against  Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 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 Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Serena Williams reached the finals of Wimbledon 2012 by winning her semifinal match in straight sets. Defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in the finals will be much tougher.

The 30-year-old Williams had been struggling in the past few years, leading many to believe her days of winning titles were over. Injuries have caused her to miss some tournaments, and it has been two years since she won her last Grand Slam.

Last month in the French Open, the 13-time major tournament champion lost in the first round. Fortunately, she seems to have turned it around on the grass court.

Williams dominated Victoria Azarenka in the semifinal by using the best serve she has had in years. She totaled 24 aces, and former great John McEnroe gave her outstanding praise (via the Guardian):

Serena's might be the best set of serving I've seen in a women's match. It's scary how good it is. It's not only the quality of Serena's serve, it's the power. And it's quality, consistent, she doesn't double fault much and she mixes up her spins, so that allows her to take more risks on her returns and that puts more pressure on Azarenka. I would compare it with playing a Pete Sampras.

McEnroe thinks the serve could help her control the final against Radwanska. Bruce Jenkins of the SFGate agrees, saying, "Big-serve tennis is the essence of Wimbledon, the most valuable asset a player can possess. One massive strike, and you're out of trouble."

When she is playing her best, there are few athletes in the world who are able to handle her serve. However, Radwanska is not going to go away that easily. The No. 3 player in the world has been playing well of late and is looking for her first career Grand Slam win.

ESPN's Kamakshi Tandon believes the variety of shots that the Polish player uses throughout the match will help her win the final. "If she can draw Williams into long rallies, expect some creative points."

This match will likely be decided by Williams and her ability to serve. As good as she was during the semifinal, she still holds herself to a higher standard. She told the media after her match, "Actually during the match I thought I didn't serve well, I thought, gosh, I got to get more first serves in."

If she does perform better, then Radwanska will be in trouble. Williams will be on her way to her fifth Wimbledon title and could become the first woman past her 30th birthday to win a Grand Slam since Martina Navratilova in 1990.