Friday, July 6, 2012

Serena sets mark, reaches Wimbledon final

   Serena Williams reputedly has the best serve in women's tennis history.
   She enhanced that reputation Thursday, firing a tournament-record 24 aces at up to 120 mph in a 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory over second-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the Wimbledon semifinals.
   "The older I get, the better I serve, I feel," the sixth-seeded Williams, 30, told reporters. "I don't know how it got better. I really don't know. It's not like I go home and I work on baskets and baskets of serves. Maybe it's a natural shot for me."
   Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in January for her first Grand Slam singles title, would have returned to No. 1 in the world by beating Williams.
   Instead, Williams will face third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday for the title. Radwanska dismissed eighth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 6-4. Williams will seek her fifth Wimbledon and 14th Grand Slam singles crown.
   Shortly after winning Wimbledon two years ago for her last Grand Slam title, Williams cut her foot on a piece of glass at a restaurant and underwent two operations. She then developed life-threatening blood clots in her lungs. In all, she was sidelined for 11 months.
   In only her third tournament back, Williams won last year's Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. She is scheduled to defend her title there next week.
   Radwanska, 23, became the first Polish woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska lost in the 1939 French Open title match.
   Williams has beaten Radwanska in straight sets in their two previous encounters, but they haven't met since the Wimbledon quarterfinals four years ago. Radwanska will climb to No. 1 for the first time if she wins Saturday.
   Williams also won in doubles with older sister Venus on Thursday. They routed 10th-seeded Raquel Kops-Jones, a former Cal All-American from Fresno, and Abigail Spears of San Diego 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.
   Another pair of siblings, Bob and Mike Bryan, moved closer to their second straight Wimbledon men's doubles title and third overall. Seeded second, the 34-year-old twins topped unseeded Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram 5-7, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
   All except Ram, who starred at Illinois, are former Stanford All-Americans. All except Lipsky are ex-NCAA doubles champions; Lipsky was a runner-up.
   In mixed doubles, top-seeded Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber reached the quarterfinals, and second-seeded Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond advanced to the semifinals.
   MacKenzie McDonald and Connor Farren, both from the San Francisco Bay Area, lost separately in the second round of boys doubles.
   Men's Challenger in Winnetka, Ill. -- Second-seeded Ryan Sweeting overwhelmed eighth-seeded Danai Udomchoke of Thailand 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the $50,000 Nielsen Pro Tennis Championships.
   Sweeting, who's scheduled to play three matches for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis next week, has not lost more than three games in a set in his three matches.
   In doubles, wild cards Mitchell Frank of Annandale, Va., and Bradley Klahn, a former Stanford All-American making his professional debut, lost to top-seeded Australians John Peers and John-Patrick Smith by walkover in the semifinals.
   Third-seeded Jimmy Wang, a Taiwanese citizen who trains in the Sacramento area, and Udomchoke fell in the quarterfinals by walkover.
   Women's Challenger in Denver -- Nicole Gibbs, who won the NCAA singles title in May as a sophomore at Stanford, rolled to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow qualifier Mayo Hibi of Japan in the second round of the $50,000 Colorado International.
   Gibbs and Lauren Embree, a wild-card team, won in the doubles quarterfinals. But second-seeded Asia Muhammed of the Capitals and Maria Sanchez of Modesto lost to Americans Jennifer Elie and Elizabeth Lumpkin 1-6, 6-1, 13-11 tiebreak. 
WIMBLEDON TV SCHEDULE
(All times PDT)
    Today -- Men's semifinals, ESPN, 5-11 a.m. (live). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 2-6 p.m. (premiere), 6-10 p.m. (repeat), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (repeat).
   Saturday -- Women's final, ESPN, 6-11 a.m. (live), ABC, noon-3 p.m. (repeat), Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m. (premiere), 8 p.m.-midnight (repeat), midnight-4 a.m. (repeat).
   Sunday -- Men's final, ESPN, 6 a.m.-noon (live), ABC, noon-3 p.m. (repeat). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m. (premiere), 8 p.m.-midnight (repeat), midnight-4 a.m. (repeat).
CALENDAR  
   THROUGH SUNDAY -- WIMBLEDON, www.wimbledon.com.
   Saturday-Tuesday -- West Coast Junior Championships, Rio del Oro Racquet Club, 119 Scripps Dr., Sacramento, www.norcal.usta.com.
   Saturday-July 15 -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford University. Qualifying on Saturday and Sunday. Main draw Monday through July 15. www.bankofthewestclassic.com.
   Monday -- World TeamTennis, Sacramento Capitals' season opener at Boston, 4 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   Tuesday -- Capitals at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. http://www.saccaps.com/.
   Thursday -- World TeamTennis, Capitals' home opener (with Mardy Fish) vs. Kansas City, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., www.saccaps.com.
   Thursday -- 2012 Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame Brunch and Induction Ceremony (Nick Saviano, Andrea Norman, Steve Cornell and Martha Downing), Stanford University, Pac 12 Plaza/Cardinal Plaza, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., tickets $75 each at http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=230538.
   July 13 -- Capitals (with Fish) vs. Orange County, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 14 -- Capitals at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 16 -- Capitals (with Sam Querrey) vs. New York, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 18 -- Capitals at Washington, 4:10 p.m.
   July 19 -- Capitals at Springfield, 5:05 p.m.
   July 20 -- Capitals at Kansas City, 5:35 p.m.
   July 22 -- Springfield at Capitals (with Querrey), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 24 -- Orange County (with Lindsay Davenport) at Capitals (with Kevin Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 25 -- Capitals at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 27 -- Philadelphia (with Mark Philippoussis) at Capitals (with Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28 -- Boston at Capitals (with Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28-Aug. 5 -- OLYMPIC TENNIS TOURNAMENT, Wimbledon, www.london2012.com.

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