Wimbledon 2018: Angelique Kerber stays cool to return to singles final
Angelique Kerber would get another chance for redemption at the Championships in Wimbledon on Saturday. In a match that saw her overtake Jelena Ostapenko, the German held her ground in the late stages to hold on to a 6-3, 6-3 win on Centre Court Thursday. Too many errors from the Latvian made it possible for the 11th seed to pull out all the stops and reach her fourth Major final.
The two highest seeds left in the tournament faced off in a first time meeting, where one of them would keep their title hopes alive. Both players showed strong competitive spirit on the court, with only the German dropping a set throughout the tournament.
They each possess a different type of game that can either make or break their run to the final match. While they have never faced off before, the point of being pitted against one another would be a memory they wouldn’t forget.
The Latvian began the match with some jitters, having never been this far in the tournament but battled back to gain control of the first game. She forced deuce to get the AD point quickly to stay out front.
Ostapenko already had four unforced errors but began to show finesse, landing a drop shot during the second game. Though it didn’t help her earn the break, the need to become a strengthening figure was necessary against Kerber. Ostapenko had 12 winners by her second game win, but still hadn’t figured out a way to hold off the 11th seed.
Kerber earned her first serve to love in the fourth game but was still behind the 21-year-old, who continued to lead the way. That all changed in the seventh game as Kerber's attacks paid off with a break of serve on deuce giving her the first lead change with the serve in play in the eighth game.
She gave herself three game points but lost every one of them due to Ostapenko's aggression. The 12th seed forced deuce but watched Kerber land an ace to take a 5-3 lead.
She marched ahead to play for the set forcing a nervous Ostapenko to drop her composure and double fault at the end to close out the set in 34 minutes. The former world number one had a lot of good running for her as she scored 17 of 26 on first serve points and four of five from the second. With her opponent having more errors than winners, it was a sure way to keep her own game together.
Kerber proved that in the opening serve of the second set, taking down Ostapenko swiftly allowing her a point in the game. She was soon two serves and a break up with the Latvian showing a lot of struggle with the first serve and returns.
Ostapenko made good on ending the shutout she found herself in as Kerber had too many errors on the backhand. The win gave her something to build on but the power from the German limited that just enough to earn a 4-1 stance, adding more negative feelings to Ostapenko.
Kerber earned another break that helped her inch closer to the final, with Ostapenko clearly out of ideas. The 30-year-old served for the match and pushed forward while watching her opponent fall to pieces.
Ostapenko made an attempt to put something back together, reaching a break point in the sixth game but it went to deuce on a return into the net. She refused to let that bother her fighting on every point, denying Kerber match point and laying down some winners that let her etch out a second game win in that set.
Ostapenko almost had a serve to love in the eighth game, but despite giving up two points to Kerber, she gained a second straight win that pleased the crowd and energized her game to improve. The short surge gave Kerber a reason to doubt herself but she went into the ninth game determined to shut out the match.
She got to deuce on an error from Ostapenko, followed by a second ace that gave Kerber her second match point. It was all over on a wide return from the Latvian that saw Kerber scream out the frustrations of the set and achieve her mission after one hour and seven minutes.