For the second time this year, Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber will meet in a grand slam final when they meet on Saturday afternoon at Wimbledon. With victory, Serena can match the open era record of 22 grand slam titles set by Steffi Graf while Kerber looks to earn her second slam title and become only the second player with multiple slam final wins over the World No.1.
Serena Williams Route To The Final: 1R A Sadikovic 62 64 2R C McHale 67 62 64 3R A Beck 62 60 4R S Kuznetsova (13) 75 60 QF A Pavlyuchenkova (21) 64 64 SF E Vesnina 62 60
Angelique Kerber Route To The Final: 1R L Robson 62 62 2R V Lepchenko 61 74 3R C Witthoeft 76 61 4R M Doi 63 61 QF S Halep (5) 75 76 SF V Williams (8) 64 64
Kerber stopped a fairy tale Williams sisters final by taking out a resurgent Venus in the semis, breaking 5 times in the 64 64 victory over the eighth seed. The second set was mightily impressive for Kerber on serve – she hit 80% first serves and lost just 1 of the 20 points she played on it in the set, a marked improvement from the first set where she won just 47% on first serve and was broken three times.
Kerber knows she will need to be solid on serve against Serena in the final, especially if the World No.1 maintains the serving form she has displayed throughout the fortnight. “I think my serve will be really important, that I really start from the first point serving very well.” the German said.
Serena had booked her spot in the final earlier in the day on Thursday, crushing Elena Vesnina in just 48 minutes as the Russian was totally outmatched in addition to freezing on the big stage. She dropped just three points on serve all match while hitting 11 aces in total.
Going into the final, Serena faces the prospect of not holding a single slam on her rankings record with *only* three finals and a semi final instead and she recognises that by her standards it could be better. “I think for anyone else in this whole planet, it would be a wonderful accomplishment. For me, it’s about obviously holding the trophy and winning, which would make it a better accomplishment for me. For me, it’s not enough. But I think that’s what makes me different. That’s what makes me Serena.”
Talking on the loss in Melbourne, Serena said “It’s significant that she beat me in Australia because that’s the last time we did play. And also just as an opponent, she’s great. She does things well. She moves excellent. She’s fun to play.”
It is quite evident that Serena is not quite the unstoppable force she was of a few years back but she is still undoubtedly the best player in the world and at her best is still near impossible to beat. It took some off the charts defence from Kerber, especially in the third set, to frustrate and eventually beat Serena. It was just the second time in seven meetings that Kerber had came out victorious following five straight losses on hard courts.
While the eventual success of Garbine Muguruza in Paris wasn’t seen as all that surprising, Kerber’s win in Australia came as a huge shock especially given the 21-4 record in slam finals Serena held at the start of this year. If a third straight finals loss occurs, Serena’s record will be just a mere 75%.
Prediction – Serena Williams in three sets