Fourth seed Angelique Kerber booked her place in her maiden Wimbledon final by outshining five-time champion and eighth seed Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals at the All England Club on Thursday. The German will meet the top seed and 21-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the summit clash in a repeat of their 2016 Australian Open final which Kerber won.
The match started with a breakfest as each player put up a fabulous performance on returns but fumbled on their own serves. After five straight breaks of serve, it was the fourth-seeded Kerber who finally held for a 4-2 lead.
The Australian Open winner struck again with her angular crosscourt backhand doing the damage this time. The German powered past the former five-time champion to race ahead 5-2.
Venus then upped the intensity on her returns and Kerber struggled with the ball coming early at her. That effort from the former World No. 1 paid off as she broke back the German to 3-5.
Kerber brought out her impressive defense once more the second time she had a chance to serve out the set. Even though Venus closed in to 30, this time the German’s determination bore fruit. She grabbed the opener 6-4.
Kerber started the second set in the same fashion as she ended the first one. With the same unabashed aggression, she put one foot into her maiden Wimbledon final by breaking Venus in the first game of the second set.
Williams finally found herself on the board in the third game. But Kerber was relentless. She had been at this stage of the Wimbledon Championships before – four years ago – and she obviously was not prepared to give up such a lucrative opportunity to be in the final of the world’s most famous tennis Slam once again.
Ripping her inside-out forehands at will, the German destroyed Venus’ façade of confidence brick by brick. In an astonishing 14-shot rally, both women brought out their power and vigour making it one of the best points of the match.
The marathon game – the highest point of the match – showcased the fighting prowess of both the fighters and why they had both tasted Grand Slam glory. Venus did manage to wriggle herself out of it to save several break points and hold for 2-3.
Even though Venus was unable to make in-roads into the fourth seed’s game, she was at least able to stay close on the heels of the reigning Australian Open champion at 3-4.
The eighth seed kept on hunting for opportunities to slow down the march of her opponent but Kerber was too strong and too self-assured.
Countless times, Williams displayed why she is in a Slam semi-final at the age of 36. She refused to be bogged down by the numerous rallies that Kerber enforced. But in the end, it was that one early break that proved decisive.
Kerber finished with a wondrous crosscourt forehand that just went over the net on Venus’ part of the court to reach her second Grand Slam final this year and her first ever at the SW19 at the age of 28.
On Saturday, it will be the same final as the one we witnessed earlier in the year at the Australian Open. Kerber will meet the mighty Serena Williams, who pummelled Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0 in the first semi-final.
Going by what Serena and Kerber produced at the Melbourne Park in January, nothing short of a cracking display is in the offing!