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No day off for Serena

The singles finalist and her sister Venus advance to doubles final at Wimbledon.

July 07, 2012|Diane Pucin
  • Venus and Serena Williams celebrate during their women's doubles semifinals match.
Venus and Serena Williams celebrate during their women's doubles… (Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated…)

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND — Serena Williams prepared for her Saturday women's singles final by pairing with her sister Venus and upsetting the top-seeded (and fellow American team) Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber on Friday.

Agnieszka Radwanska prepared for her first major singles final by staying away from the All England Club, issuing a statement because she was too sick to talk.

"She's resting up for tomorrow," Serena said after she and Venus had won, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, and stayed alive for a chance to win a fifth women's doubles title. "She's looking good and getting ready. This is a big thing.

"Yeah, it would be good to have a day off, but it's also good to practice in doubles because I get a lot of match play, practice some returns, some serves. It was fine."

So, advantage who for Saturday's championship match?

Serena, who has won 13 career major titles and four Wimbledon championships, spoke emotionally about having the chance two years ago.

Shortly after that victory, Williams suffered a foot injury after stepping on glass and then, a few months later, a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. She hasn't won a major title since.

"I just wanted to make it through everything," she said. "It was more or less like I wasn't even thinking about tennis. I just wanted to make it through everything that I was going through and become a survivor. I've been able to do that."

Serena is trying to tie Venus with a fifth Wimbledon singles title. Serena, 30, is also aiming to become the first woman in her 30s to win a Grand Slam title since Martina Navratilova won here in 1990 at age 33.

The third-seeded Radwanska, a 23-year-old from Poland, will play her first major final.

In her statement Friday, she said, "Unfortunately I have picked up an upper respiratory illness which is affecting my nose and throat. I have been playing a lot of matches here in the rain and cold wind and I haven't been well for a few days."

Williams will be the overwhelming favorite, as she was last year in the U.S. Open final. But she lost to Samantha Stosur on a Saturday night in New York, 6-2, 6-3.

"That was tough for me," Williams said. "I just came back from a year off. . . . I don't know why I was such a heavy favorite.

"I was just happy to have made it that far. If you look at where I'd come from, after Wimbledon I was ranked almost close to 200. I fought back. So that's one loss I didn't beat myself up over because I felt like, 'Serena, look how far you've come and look how far you will continue to go.' "

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diane.pucin@latimes.com

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