Serena, Ker­ber set for Wim­ble­don fi­nal re­match

Jerusalem Post - - SPORTS -

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)

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