The 2012 Wimbledon women’s main draw singles quarter finals have been completed. The semi finals will be played on Thursday 5 July beginning at 1pm local time in London, United Kingdom. In this post what happened in the quarter finals, plenty of interesting facts and figures about the four players in the semi finals and their head-to-head records will be covered.
From the initial 208 women playing at Wimbledon this year (112 main draw + 96 qualifiers), only the four best players remain. The trophy, “The Venus Rosewater Dish”, a maximum of 2,000 WTA ranking points, £1,150,000 (pounds sterling) for the winner and the coveted Wimbledon singles title will be won by the player that is able to perform best in the semi finals and again in Sunday’s final.
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The 2012 Wimbledon women’s singles semi finals are:
First match on centre court – Angelique KERBER  v  Agnieszka RADWANSKA
Followed by – Serena WILLIAMS  v  Victoria AZARENKA
In the quarter final matches played on Tuesday 3 July preceding World No.1 and reigning Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka played against the unseeded Tamira Paszek of Austria on court 1. The 21-year-old Paszek was playing in her second career Grand Slam quarter final and back-to-back Wimbledon quarter final looking for a break through to the semi finals for the first time.
The 22-year-old Azarenka won through to her 3rd career Grand Slam semi final in 1 hour and 49 minutes, 6-3 7-6(7-4) to extend her career Wimbledon record to 20-6. The 1.83m Azarenka won her last semi final and went on to win her most recent Grand Slam semi final. Azarenka opened 2012 with 26 straight wins and four WTA singles titles and has been the most impressive player to this point.
Azarenka will reclaim the World No.1 ranking by winning today’s semi final regardless of any other results. The Belarusian is playing in her second straight Wimbledon semi final this year after losing just 23 games and all five matches in straight sets, including a 6-1 6-0 demolition of former World No.1 and Grand Slam singles champion in the 4th round.
Serena Williams played on centre court against No.4 seed and defending Wimbledon singles champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. Serena won her last Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 2010, she is a 4-time Wimbledon champion and dual runner-up. The 30-year-old Williams won through to her 21st career and 8th Wimbledon Grand Slam semi final in 1 hour and 24 minutes, 6-3 7-5.
The 1.75m Williams has won 17 of her Grand Slam semi finals thus far and has now extended her career record at Wimbledon to 65-8, which one more win and loss than Roger Federer’s record. The American is chasing the World No.1 ranking, a 14th Grand Slam singles title and a 5th Wimbledon singles title. Serena has won her last seven matches against Top 2 ranked players and all in straight sets. The former No.1 is aiming to become the first 30+ year old to win a Slam singles title since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1990.
Angelique Kerber (pictured above) played on centre court straight after Serena in the quarter finals. Kerber played against fellow German and 2011 Wimbledon semi finalist No.15 seed Sabine Lisicki. The 24-year-old Kerber already achieved her career best at Wimbledon by winning past the 3rd round. The left-hander will certainly achieve a new career-high ranking given she lost 1st round in 2011 to the then ranked No.254 local Laura Robson.
The 1.73m Kerber has won more matches at Wimbledon this year (5) than in her career, coming in with a 3-5 record. Kerber won in 2 hours and 30 minutes, 6-3, 6-7(7-9), 7-5 to make her 2nd Grand Slam semi final and third slam quarter final or better in three of the past four slams. Can Kerber become the most recent female Grand Slam singles champion from Germany since Steffi Graf in 1996?
Agnieszka Radwanska played on court 1 before Azarenka in the semi finals against No.17 seed Maria Kirilenko of Russia. The 25-year-old Kirilenko had already achieved her career best at Wimbledon and equalled her best Grand Slam singles result (201 Australian Open quarter finalist). The 23-year-old Radwanska won her 6th career Grand Slam quarter final and third at Wimbledon to progress to her 1st semi final.
The 1.72m Radwanska won in 2 hours and 50 minutes, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 to extend her career record at Wimbledon to 22-6. Radwanska will become the World No.1 for the first time if she wins the title and Azarenka loses to Serena. Radwanska is already the first Polish player male or female to make a Grand Slam quarter final and now semi final. Can Radwanska become the first Polish Grand Slam singles champion and World No.1?
The head-to-head records for the semi final match-ups are:
In the battle for a first ever Wimbledon final for the victor, Radwanska and Kerber are tied at 2 wins each from their previous matches. Radwanska won the most recent encounter at the 2011 Tokyo event in Japan 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Kerber won their only other Garnd Slam singles match 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 at the 2011 US Open and the pair have not yet played on grass.
In the battle for World No.1’s and Grand Slam champions and to be the short favourite to take the Wimbledon title, Serena goes in with the advantage of leading Azarenka with 7 wins to 1 in their previous matches. Serena has won the most recent encounter in the Madrid final this year 6-1 6-3. Serena has won their past 5 matches and Azarenka’s one win was in the Miami final in 2009. The pair are meeting for the 6th time in a Grand Slam with Serena winning 6-2 6-3 in their only other match on grass, at Wimbledon in 2009.
The Wimbledon semi finals this year have so much at stake as we have seen on many occasions, including at the most recent Grand Slam – Roland Garros players with one-sided head-to-head records like Samantha Stosur over Sara Errani can and are often upset. Let’s see who can turn on the quality of tennis required to win the block buster Azarenka-Serena semi and who can over come the mental challenges to make the most of this opportunity to play for her first Grand Slam singles title.
© photo credit: Ralf Reinecke