Ser­ena nears eighth Wimbledon ti­tle

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

YES, THIS will be Ser­ena Wil­liams’ 10th Wimbledon fi­nal. Yes, it’s her 30th ti­tle match at any ma­jor. And, well, sure, she’s widely re­garded as not just the best of her era, but any era.

Let oth­ers shrug at this lat­est ac­com­plish­ment, as if all it sig­ni­fied were merely an­other chance at an­other in a long line of tro­phies. Wil­liams is not shy about say­ing she, for one, is im­pressed by this. Rightly so. For it was only about 10 months ago she was hav­ing a baby and then deal­ing with a se­ri­ous health scare that fol­lowed.

Even af­ter all of that, even af­ter more than a year away from the game, even in only the fourth tour­na­ment of her come­back, Wil­liams showed she’s still ca­pa­ble of dom­i­nance. Es­pe­cially at the All Eng­land Club, where a rel­a­tively rou­tine 6-2, 6-4 vic­tory over 13th-seeded Ju­lia Go­erges of Ger­many yesterday put Wil­liams one win away from an eighth cham­pi­onship.

She’s also clos­ing in on her 24th Grand Slam ti­tle, which would equal Mar­garet Court’s all-time record.

“A lot of peo­ple were say­ing, ‘Oh, she should be in the fi­nal,’” the 36-year-old Wil­liams said. “For me, it’s such a plea­sure and a joy be­cause, you know, less than a year ago, I was go­ing through so much stuff.”

Af­ter hit­ting five aces with a serve that reached 119mph, de­liv­er­ing 16 win­ners to only seven un­forced er­rors, and cov­er­ing the court so well with speed and ef­fort, Wil­liams will face an­other Ger­man, 11th-seeded An­gelique Ker­ber, to­mor­row.

“What­ever hap­pens, hon­estly,” Wil­liams said, “it’s an in­cred­i­ble ef­fort from me.”

The left-handed Ker­ber, a for­mer No. 1 and two-time ma­jor cham­pion, beat 12th-seeded Je­lena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 ear­lier yesterday.

“See­ing her back, it’s great,” said Ker­ber, who has lost six of eight pre­vi­ous matches against Wil­liams. “I know that she is al­ways push­ing you to the lim­its.”

Ker­ber let 2017 French Open cham­pion Ostapenko de­ter­mine the out­come of nearly every point. By the end, Ostapenko had far more win­ners, 30-10, and far more un­forced er­rors, 36-7.

Wil­liams ver­sus Ker­ber will be a re­match of the 2016 fi­nal. Wil­liams won that for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Wimbledon ti­tle, then sat out the grass-court tour­na­ment last year while preg­nant, part of a 16-month gap between ma­jors.

AP PHO­TOS

Ser­ena Wil­liams of the United States re­turns the ball to Ger­many’s Ju­lia Gorges dur­ing their women’s sin­gles semi-fi­nal match at the Wimbledon Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships yesterday.

Ger­many’s An­gelique Ker­ber in ac­tion against Latvia’s Je­lena Ostapenko in a women’s sin­gles semi-fi­nal match at the Wimbledon Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships yesterday.

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