Serena, Kerber set for Wimbledon final rematch
LONDON (Reuters) – American Serena Williams and German Angelique Kerber will face off for the Wimbledon title on Saturday in a rematch of the 2016 final.
Williams, the No. 25 seed, defeated 13th-seeded German Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-4 in 72 minutes in Thursday’s semifinals, while Kerber, seeded 11th, cruised past 12th-seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in 67 minutes. Both matches were played on Centre Court at the All England Club.
Williams and Kerber, who have both formerly held the world No. 1 ranking, last faced each other in the 2016 Wimbledon final, which Williams won 7-5, 6-3. Williams holds a 6-2 advantage in their eight meetings, with Kerber’s last win coming in the 2016 Australian Open final, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
“The last time I played here in the final was against her,” Williams said of Kerber in her postmatch off-court interview. “She’s clearly a really good grass court player. She’s been going in the draw really well. I love watching her play. I get to watch her play. Whatever happens, it’s an incredible effort for me and good motivation for the rest of my career.”
Williams is seeking her eighth Wimbledon title and 24th Grand Slam win, while Kerber will play for her third Grand Slam and first since the 2016 US Open. Williams is 23-6 in major finals.
Williams is playing in just her fourth tournament since sitting out a year because of her pregnancy. Her run through Wimbledon this year has included five straightset victories.
Williams is now 92-10 at Wimbledon.
“It’s crazy, I don’t know how to feel,” Williams said. “Literally didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back in 16 months. I just feel like when I don’t have anything to lose I play so free. It’s kind of what I’m doing.
“This is not inevitable for me. I had a really tough delivery and had to have multiple surgeries, almost didn’t make it, to be honest. I remember I couldn’t even walk to my mailbox. It’s definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final.”
After each holding serve through the first four games of the first set, Williams claimed four in a row from Goerges in dominant fashion. The second set seemed it would follow the same formula, with Williams seizing a 5-2 lead after starting 2-2, but Goerges rallied to win the eighth and ninth games.
Williams recovered in the 10th, though, breaking Goerges to claim the victory.
Williams had 16 winners, including five aces, in the match, while Goerges had 20 winners.
If Williams, currently ranked 181st after her time away, wins Saturday’s final, she has a chance to return to the top 20 of the rankings.
Like Williams, Kerber has dropped just one set in her six matches. She survived 30 winners from Ostapenko, who was undone by 36 unforced errors.
Kerber had 10 winners and seven unforced errors.
“I’m really proud being back in the Wimbledon final, especially after last year, where things weren’t like I was expecting,” said Kerber, who lost in the fourth round in 2017 to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
“Being here again, that was a goal when I started this year, you know, to play good in the Grand Slams and to reach the finals again. It’s a great feeling.” On TV: Wimbledon late-round action (live on Sport5 from 1:15 p.m. on Friday (men’s semifinals) and 4 p.m. on Saturday (women’s final)