WIMBLEDON, England — Petra Kvitova announced herself to Serena Williams with high-pitched squeals and forceful fist pumps and with a tennis game of varied pace marked by volleys and lobs and, stunning to many, an early service break and an advantage over the world's top player.
But Williams has something Kvitova doesn't have.
Kvitova has a serve but not The Serve. Not the consistently angry-seeming first shot that is blasted with both power and purpose. Former player Pam Shriver calls Williams' serve possibly the best shot in the history of women's tennis.
Williams' serve pulled her out of a little trouble Thursday and put her in her sixth Wimbledon final. Williams beat 62nd-ranked Kvitova 7-6 (2), 6-2 in one women's semifinal.
The 28-year-old defending champion will go after her fourth title against 21st-seeded Vera Zvonareva from Russia. Zvonareva, 25, kept her calm after an error-filled first set and advanced to her first major tournament final by beating 82nd-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Williams played without the bandage she had on her right shoulder Wednesday, when she and her sister Venus Williams were upset in doubles. Serena showed no evidence of favoring that serving shoulder that has produced a tournament-leading 80 aces.
In comparison, the No. 2 producer of aces so far at Wimbledon has been Venus with 30. Zvonareva has hit 23 but also has 22 double faults while Serena has only 12 double faults.
Serena said she wore the bandage Wednesday as a preventative measure to protect herself from soreness that has come for one reason. "I had hit too many aces. My shoulder was done, so just trying to recover," she said. And smiled.
Williams described the difference in the first and second sets simply. "I think I attacked my points better in the second set."
Zvonareva, 25, is into her first Grand Slam final. It is the first time in three years that Serena won't play sister Venus for the championship. The Russian has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the world, though she has fought through a serious ankle injury and a reputation for succumbing to nerves.
"I always believe in myself," Zvonareva said. "I can break the racket, but it doesn't mean I'm not there in the match."
She has beaten Williams once in six previous tries and learned something. "I will have to stay aggressive no matter what," she said. "When Serena dominates, she's very difficult to play."