Wimbledon 2010: Serena Williams battles into final
Wimbledon Championships - Women's Final Venue: All England Club, London Date: Saturday 3 July Coverage: Live on BBC One, HD, BBC Sport website (UK only), 5 live sports extra; live text commentary online and on mobile phones; watch again on BBC iPlayer
Full details of BBC coverage
Serena survives Kvitova test
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon
Defending champion Serena Williams overcame an unexpectedly tough test to reach her sixth Wimbledon final.
Vera Zvonareva stands between Williams and a fourth title after the world number one battled past unseeded Czech Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.
Kvitova, in her first Grand Slam semi-final, managed to break the powerful Williams serve.
But the world number 62 let slip a first-set lead and the top seed's experience told.
After a tussle lasting one hour and 32 minutes, Williams celebrated with a curtsey for the Centre Court crowd.
"It wasn't easy, I worked really hard," she told BBC Sport.
Serena feels 'blessed' to make final
"I didn't expect to get this far the way I started at the beginning of the tournament. I just felt off, but I'm happy to still be here. It's such a blessing to just be in the tournament."
The 28-year-old has now hit 80 aces during the tournament, which puts her streets ahead of her female rivals and would place her seventh on the men's list.
"I didn't hit that many aces today but honestly I've never served that many aces," she said. "It's weird and exciting. I've always relied on my serve to be good and strong but in the eve of my career it's just got better.
"It took me a while to get used to her serve but I try not to worry too much out there, it's not the time. I think that I took my opportunities better in the second set."
Williams' route to a fourth title, and a 13th Grand Slam success, looked relatively simple after her sister Venus and Kim Clijsters were beaten in the quarter-finals.
Zvonareva was the only one of the three semi-finalists to have won a match against the defending champion, and all were making their debut in the last four of Wimbledon.
Kvitova had never even won a match on grass before arriving at the All England Club this year, and the 20-year-old admitted before her first Grand Slam semi-final that she did not think she could beat her experienced opponent.
But her performance, certainly in the early stages, belied that statement, a magnificent low volley setting up break point at 2-2 before Williams netted a forehand to find her serve broken for only the third time in the tournament.
Kvitova even had a point for a 5-3 lead, but three forehand errors allowed Williams to get back on level terms.
Still, the Czech refused to roll over completely, fighting back from 4-0 down in the tie-break and saving two set points before Williams delivered a crunching first serve to take the first set by the narrowest margin in just under an hour.
Williams found the second set a little easier to negotiate, but Kvitova still provided flashes of brilliance for an appreciative crowd.
Trailing 4-2 and break point down, the pair played out a thrilling 19-shot rally, Kvitova somehow scrambling back a lob before finally firing a forehand past an exhausted Williams.
The effort, though, was apparently too much for the 20-year-old and she double-faulted on the next break point to allow Williams to come through, although the American had a lucky netcord to thank on match point.
Kvitova, meanwhile, believes she can build on her All England Club run.
"It was a great match for me and it was close in the first set," she said. "I will take a little bit of confidence and I'm happy I was in the Wimbledon semi-finals. I hope to be seeded for the US Open and I hope I can improve more."
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