Agnieszka Radwanska beat Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 to become the first Polish woman to reach the Wimbledon tennis final since 1937.
Radwanska, who recovered from a break down in the first set, jumped up and down when she clinched victory as her German opponent hit a shot wide on Centre Court.
“This has been a dream since I was a kid,” Radwanska, 23, said in a televised interview. “We both were a bit nervous in the beginning. After a couple of games, I relaxed a little bit.”
The last Polish woman to reach the Wimbledon final was Jadwiga Jedrzejowska, who lost to the U.K.’s Dorothy Round 75 years ago when female players of the era played in long white dresses.
With some Centre Court seats empty at lunchtime, No. 8 seed Kerber broke Radwanska’s serve to lead the first set 2-1 as the Pole skewed a drop shot wide. Radwanska steadied her nerves, went on the offensive and rallied with a break of serve to make it 3-3 when Kerber hit into the net.
The Pole, a former Wimbledon junior champion, broke again to make it 5-3 on a mistake by Kerber and took the first set with an ace.
After the first four games of the second set went with serve, Radwanska broke when Kerber hit into the net. Kerber had 14 unforced errors in all, to the Pole’s six.
Kerber, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, clenched her fist after winning a 16-shot tally on Radwanska’s serve. She failed to take advantage of two break points.
She was trying to become the first German woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Steffi Graf in 1999.
Radwanska, who turned professional in 2005, closed out the match in 1 hour, 10 minutes. She made 78 percent of her first serves -- to Kerber’s 56 percent -- and converted all three of her break points.
“I played really good today, I’m very happy,” Radwanska said. “This is the best two weeks of my career.”
Kerber said she’d met Graf for the first time yesterday and the seven-time Wimbledon champion had told her to enjoy the semifinal and not worry about the result.
Kerber found it “really tough” to be consistent and hit winners, she said.
“I was maybe one, two steps slower today,” she told a news conference. “That makes the difference.”
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