One of the greatest things about Serena Williams is that she never forgets. As much as she distinctly remembers her glories, she never erases the memories of her scars.
Consider the 2014 WTA Finals where Simona Halep handed her one of the worst defeats of her career as the World No. 1 shockingly managed to win just two games. Four days later, she turned on the tables on the Romanian and stormed through the final to clinch the title, dropping just three games.
Five and a half months is a far longer time than four days of course, but expect Serena to have a clear imprint of that fateful day in her mind when she surprisingly lost the Australian Open final to Angelique Kerber.
It has been extremely tough even for the World No. 1 to chase German legend Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam titles. Since slumping to Roberta Vinci in the US Open semi-finals last year, Williams has looked a pale shadow of herself in the next two Slam finals, especially at the key moments.
Kerber did play her heart out and rode on her incredible her self-belief to snatch the Australian Open crown from Serena in January but, for her part, the American was absolutely not the quintessential version of the dominant player that we are so used to seeing. Nerves jangled and serves faltered even when she was handed chances on a platter. The world’s most fearful tennis competitor did look humane in those Major finals.
But now it is the pristine grasscourts of Wimbledon where the younger Williams sister has reigned supreme six times before. Her thunderous serve on this surface makes her an even dangerous rival for anyone on the opposite side of the net.
So far, the top seed has exhibited all those qualities why one should proclaim her as the champion on these lawns for the seventh time. Since her slightly patchy display in the second round against her compatriot Christina McHale, she has elevated her performance as only Serena can!
Dropping just 18 games in her next four rounds that included as many as three bagels, the World No. 1 has announced that her eyes are on the big prize.
Interestingly, it is not just Williams who is chasing Graf. Kerber too is looking to emulate the German icon and if she wins today, she will become the very first German woman to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish since Graf last did it exactly 20 years ago.
For the 28-year-old lefty, the 22-time Major winner has not only played as an inspiration but a training stint with her proved to be one of the biggest decisions she has ever made. It helped her to summon her inner strength and courage which so far used to be missing on the big stage. A completely transformed Kerber took the world by storm at Melbourne Park this year and despite suffering the natural ups and downs of a first-time Major champion subsequently, she can be extremely proud of herself after securing a berth in another Grand Slam final the same year.
The World No. 4 has made a serene progress throughout the fortnight, having not lost a set, something even the mighty Serena could not achieve. Her movement, defense and backhand passing shots have looked very sharp apart from her usually dependable forehands. They did come alive against someone of the stature of Serena in Australia in spite of the fact that Kerber was in her maiden Major final that evening.
Today, she is more experienced and probably far calmer than before but the pressure of playing Serena still remains the same as she admitted it herself. She will definitely go all out there once more but this time, the American will know where to strike the sword as she never forgets her defeats.
Wimbledon 2016 Final: Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber
TV Channel: Star Sports
Match date: 09 July 2016, Saturday
Match time: 6.30 pm IST
Match Venue: The All England Club, London
They have faced each other 7 times.
Williams has won 5 of those matches while Kerber has won two of those.