Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Sport | By

Serena goes from struggling to walk to Wimbledon final

Serena goes from struggling to walk to Wimbledon final

The American faces Angelique Kerber on Saturday in a repeat of the 2016 showdown, which she won.

After winning her semifinal against Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3, Kerber was asked what she sees across the net when she goes up against Williams.

It's been two years and a lifetime since Williams, 36, and Kerber, 30, met on Centre Court. Since that Saturday, Williams won the 2017 Australian Open, became the winningest player of the Open era, regained the No. 1 world ranking, had a baby, got married and didn't play a tournament for 14 months.

Making a mockery of Wimbledon's decision to seed her a lowly 25th, Williams has powered through the draw, getting stronger with each match. Both players advanced to the final with a relatively comfortable straight-set win in their respective semifinal matches.

"I think that's a good thing because, you know, I put so much pressure on myself when I was trying to get to 18 (major titles), then the rest, it was so much". The fact is, grass forces Kerber to do exactly what she needs to do in order to play her best tennis: be aggressive. "She does it so well".

Next up is a familiar opponent in Serena Williams, a woman who has every shot in the book and the experience to also adapt her game to her opponent. I saw her last match and you wouldn't guess that she only had a child 10 months ago from the way she moving and playing.

"Because of all the blood issues I have, It was really touch-and-go for a minute".

Williams also moved past Billie Jean King to sixth in the all-time list of female Grand Slam singles champions with 13 major titles. But it will be no easy road. Williams is playing in her seventh match in 12 days, which is the same number of matches she's played since returning from maternity leave in March. She's now made the final in two of the last three years.

Her sentiments were echoed by Anna Panaite, 30, who was cradling her four-month-old daughter Alex. That first game consisted of eight points: Three were unforced errors by Ostapenko, including a double-fault to begin the proceedings; the other five were winners by her, including a 100 miles per hour ace to close the hold.

"It's insane. I don't even know how to feel because I literally didn't think I'd do this well in my fourth tournament back in 16 months", said the American, who won the 2017 Australian Open while in the early stages of her pregnancy. In her first six matches, Kerber has looked steady and resilient, gobbling up balls at the baseline like a videogame character. For the record, she's committed only 12 double faults this tournament, and only one since the fourth round. Equally important will be the mental game that goes on between these two women. But there is no statistic fantastic enough to convey the implausibility of the outcome - a 6-2, 6-4 win over Goerges that at once felt predetermined, yet unthinkable just a short time ago. "I was still pregnant at this time a year ago". Williams, who had lost the French Open final just weeks earlier, was back to her best, dropping only one set en route to the silverware.

Like this: