at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Agnieszka Radwanska has set her sights on making more history after becoming the first Polish Grand Slam finalist for 73 years as the world number three cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Germany's Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Thursday.
Radwanska's first appearance in a Grand Slam final emulates the achievement of compatriot Jadwiga Jedrzejowska, who reached the pre-Open era French Championships final in 1939.
Jedrzejowska lost that French final and was also beaten in the Wimbledon and US Championships finals in 1937, so Radwanska is well aware she would write her name in tennis history as the first Polish winner of a major if she beats Serena Williams in Saturday's final.
“I know that she was the finalist here many years ago. I'm just very happy that I'm the second one to be in the Wimbledon final,” Radwanska said.
“I think she lost in three sets that year but now I will try to win the final.”
Radwanska faces a daunting task against four-time Wimbledon champion Serena, who hammered down a record 24 aces in her semi-final victory over world number two Victoria Azarenka.
But the Pole is relishing the chance to shock those who make her a heavy underdog in the final.
“It doesn't matter who I'm going to play in the final. I don't really have anything to lose, so I'm just going to try my best,” she said.
“I was the first Polish player who won in a semi-final for many years, so I think this is already a big success. And now here in the final it's even bigger.
“This tournament is a big part of tennis history in Poland now. I'm happy to be part of it.”
The 23-year-old – a Wimbledon junior champion in 2005 – will hope she doesn't choke in the final as badly as she did during her post-match press conference after the win over Kerber.
Radwanska was so badly troubled by a cough during the 10-minute interview session that she had to call a premature halt to proceedings after several sips of water failed to ease the problem.
Earlier, Kerber had conceded she could have few complaints about the result.
“She played very well today. I gave my best, but she was better,” Kerber said. “I was maybe one or two steps slower. I think that made the difference.
“My plan was to be aggressive, but she moved very well and didn't make many mistakes, so it was really tough.”
But Kerber, ranked 100th this time last year, was still satisfied after reaching a Grand Slam semi-final for just the second time.
“Actually it was a great tournament for me. I'm in the semis here in Wimbledon. Sure, I'm a little bit disappointed, but it's ok,” she added.
After dropping her serve early in the first set, Radwanska immediately retrieved that break and then broke for a 5-3 lead thanks to a pair of crucial Kerber miscues on the backhand side.
The Pole closed out the set with a blistering ace that left Kerber rooted to the spot.
Kerber started the second set with a aggressive approach, but if that was an attempt to knock Radwanska out of her stride it didn't work.
Instead, her go-for-broke policy backfired as a series of errors handed Radwanska a break in the fifth game of the second set.
Kerber's last chance came when she earned a break point at 2-3, but she couldn't convert as Radwanska cleverly moved her out of position to save the break before serving out the biggest win of her life. – Sapa-AFP