Melbourne - World number one Serena
Williams demolished Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska on Thursday to surge
into her 26th Grand Slam final and zero in on a seventh Australian Open title.
The dominant top seed was untouchable in
overpowering the Pole 6-0, 6-4 in just 64 minutes on Rod Laver Arena to set up
a decider against German seventh seed Angelique Kerber or unseeded Briton
Kerber and Konta play later on Thursday,
with whoever wins facing a huge obstacle to be crowned champion. Of her 25
previous major finals, Williams has won 21.
"I'm really excited to be in another
final, it kind of blows my mind right now," said Williams, 34.
"I feel I am playing the best I can,
and I can't believe I am in the final.
"I started playing aggressive again in
the second set and it worked out."
The writing was on the wall for Radwanska -
Williams had never lost a semi-final at Melbourne Park on her way to six
titles, and had beaten the Pole in each of their previous eight meetings
stretching back to 2008.
She crushed long-time rival Maria Sharapova
in the quarter-finals and dished out the same treatment to Radwanska, halting
her 13-match win streak in emphatic fashion.
The victory puts her just one win away from
matching Steffi Graf's Open-era Grand Slam record of 22 titles, with Margaret
Court's all-time mark of 24 edging closer.
In her 16th Australian Open, Williams, who
said this week she had no plans to retire any time soon, got on the front foot
immediately, and effortlessly.
Within a minute of the match starting she
had a break point as she hit clean winners and attacked the net.
It was the worst possible opening for
Radwanska, with Williams, the oldest world number one in WTA history, breaking
and then using her huge power advantage to easily hold serve, racing 2-0 clear
with a smash at the net.
Radwanska, 26, was in serious trouble with
Williams attacking her vulnerable second serve, and a double fault left her
flailing 0-3 behind.
The American was hitting booming shots to
perfection while Radwanska was struggling to get the ball over the net.
Her movement was virtually non-existent and
a feeble backhand into the net had the top seed 5-0 ahead after just 17
Radwanska could do nothing against an
opponent playing on a different level and only won seven points the entire set
- four of them from unforced errors by the American.
Williams won the set in 20 minutes, one of
the fastest of the tournament and humiliating for Radwanska, last year's WTA
Finals champion and one of the world's top players.
Radwanska finally got off the mark in the
opening game of the second set when Williams netted a backhand from the
baseline, allowing her opponent to hold serve, to huge applause from the crowd.
But it was only a temporary reprieve with
Williams holding serve then breaking to march 2-1 clear.
The fourth seed finally started finding her
range and with some errors leaking into the Williams game, she easily held
Radwanska then broke the American to huge
roars with a forehand error hauling her level at 3-3. An epic seventh game,
including the first deuce of the match, allowed her to hold serve.
But an easy Williams hold was followed by
another lapse from Radwanska who sent a forehand long to be broken again.
Williams, serving for the victory, sent
down three booming aces and won it on the first match point, easily keeping
intact her record of not dropping a set all tournament.