Tennis

Sublime Serena sets up repeat of 2016 final

American ousts Goerges 6-2, 6-4 to book another climax against Kerber

Serena Williams booked a Wimbledon final rematch against Angelique Kerber as the seven-time champion marched into her 10th All England Club title match with a 6-2, 6-4 rout of Julia Goerges yesterday.

On a 20-match winning streak at Wimbledon, Serena is the third oldest female Grand Slam finalist in the Open era at 36 years and 291 days.

She will face the former German world No.1 tomorrow in a repeat of the 2016 showpiece won by Williams.

Williams has often blasted her rivals off Centre Court with ferocious power-hitting, but German 13th seed Goerges was sent packing with a more subtle 70-minute display featuring just 16 winners and five aces.

In only her fourth tournament since the birth of her daughter Olympia last September, the 23-time Grand Slam champion is closing in on her first major title as a mother.

"It's crazy. I don't even know how to feel. I didn't expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back," Williams said.

"I had a really tough pregnancy delivery. I had to have multiple surgeries and almost didn't make it to be honest.

"I'm just enjoying every moment of this. This was not inevitable for me."

The American star will have history in her sights against Kerber as she tries to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slams singles titles.

It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel. I didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back. Serena Williams on reaching the final against Angelique Kerber

An eighth Wimbledon title would also move her past Steffi Graf into second place on the list of female Wimbledon champions, behind nine-time winner Martina Navratilova.

Serena will go into her 30th Grand Slam final - her first since winning the 2017 Australian Open - holding a 6-2 lead in her head-to-head record against Kerber.

"She is clearly a really good grass-court player. But whatever happens, it's a great moment for me and incredible motivation to keep going for the rest of my career," Serena added.

After all the controversy about the decision to seed Williams 25th at Wimbledon despite her position at 181 in the WTA rankings, she has proved the tournament's officials were actually too conservative.

Williams, who missed Wimbledon last year due to her pregnancy, won the grass-court Grand Slam on her previous two visits in 2015 and 2016.

Twenty years after making her Wimbledon debut as a precocious teenager and 16 years since her first title at the All England Club, Serena remains the pre-eminent force in the women's game. In a testament to her remarkable longevity, the former world No. 1 has now made at least one Grand Slam final for the last 12 years.

Serena had lost only one of her 10 previous Wimbledon semi-finals and the 11th followed a familiar script.

Earlier, Kerber raced into her second Wimbledon final and fourth Grand Slam showpiece as the German crushed former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in 67 minutes.

The 30-year-old hit only 10 winners but that was all it took to get the job done as Latvian 12th seed Ostapenko shot herself in the foot with 36 unforced errors.

"I was just trying to move good and take my chances. I'm so excited," Kerber said. "It's such a great feeling to be back in the final. Playing on Centre Court is always great." - AFP

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