Angelique Kerber v Serena Williams
This year’s tournament has seen a widening pool of competitors and professionalization in the lower ranks—often really just top athletes who’ve had a temporary drop—as is the case with contender Serena Williams. After life-threatening health complications, Williams obliviously gave an impression of frailty and vulnerability in the court. She grinded through the first few Matchdays of The Championships, with analysts expecting misfires. But the American has had a fairytale comeback, her level more elevated the closer she gets to the trophy; her subtle progression and clear read of the game evocative of old-school tennis.
Waiting for Williams in the finals is Angelique Kerber. The 2016 World No. 1 had a slide last year, crashing vehemently off the top of the game. But the German is back at it and is currently at her resilient best. She faced young Ostapenko’s swashbuckling power in the semis and was obdurate all throughout. Kerber looked comfortable in her side of the court, expecting the missiles to come. But Ostapenko sprayed the balls in desperate parries and was unable to find form. Kerber got past with a 6-3 6-3 in under 70 minutes.
In the post-game conference after a straight-set win, Kerber talked of her excitement in returning to the Wimbledon finals. After going through a rough patch, she aims to find her motivation back. She stated she will try to win the match and it won’t matter who she will face in the end. But this particular finals is a rematch. Williams and Kerber last met in the 2016 Wimbledon endgame where Williams won the encounter 7-5 6-3. They first faced each other in the 2007 US Open where 19-year-old Kerber was denied at 6-3 7-5. This finals is their ninth meeting. Of their eight previous match-ups, Kerber has only won twice (2012 Cincinnati Masters, 2016 Australian Open).
To book her finals-berth, Williams faced 13th-seed Julia Goerges. It was the German’s first Grand Slam semi-final and she didn’t look bad on the court at all. She was collected for the most part. It was just that Williams gave a performance so outstanding, Goerges was floored and couldn’t pull off winners. Williams crushed the competition in straight sets 6-2 6-4. The UNICEF Ambassador has struck 134 winners to 91 unforced errors so far in the tournament and is in second place for ace total. Kerber has hit 113 winners to 101 unforced errors and 15 aces. If William wins the title on Saturday, she would tie with Australian Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles. She will also be the first mother to lift the trophy since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.
Kerber has great defense and often strikes low into the corner. She can sustain efficient play from the base line and can produce beautifully sliced backhand. Good at drawing unforced errors from opponents as well. Her first return points record year to date is at 43.4 %, with converted break points at 50%.
Williams was on fire in last match. Her unbelievable athleticism after recovery period shows why she’s one of the world’s best tennis players. She is able to find all spots of the court, serves wide, and opens enough space to hit through a winner. She may inject pace in the rallies to unnerve Kerber. Her curling backhand will have the German chasing.
Pre-game tennis handicap betting numbers indicate Williams has 65% probability of winning over Kerber’s mere 35%.
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