TENNIS: After denying the Williams sisters a fairytale Wimbledon final match-up, Angelique Kerber will now attempt to again prevent Serena Williams from winning the grand slam title she is desperate for.
Williams will take on the German tomorrow night at the All England Club after a crushing 6-2 6-0 victory over Elena Vesnina sent the world No.1 into her third major final of the year.
Ever since winning Wimbledon last year Williams has been chasing the victory that would see her equal the Open-era record of 22 grand slam titles held by Steffi Graf, Kerber’s childhood idol.
Kerber denied Williams at the Australian Open by winning her first major title, while Garbine Muguruza beat the 34-year-old American at Roland Garros in the French Open final.
Kerber set up the showdown after bringing an end to Venus Williams’ golden run. In her first semi-final in six years, the 36-year-old went down 6-4 6-4.
The world No.4 demonstrated the confidence and mental strength that came with her triumph in Melbourne at the start of the year.
“After Australia there were a lot of things for me to handle, but it’s six months ago now and I’ve learnt from this experience,” Kerber, 28, said.
“I’ve learned from my ups and downs. I know how to handle everything off the court. I know that I have to take time for my practice and focus on the gym and the tennis as well.”
Kerber said her win over Williams in Melbourne would give her plenty of confidence going into the final but added: “It’s a completely new match. We are playing on a grass court.
“She lost the final against me, and I know she will go out and try everything to beat me right now. I will just try to go out there like I did in Australia and try to show her, ‘OK, I’m here to win the match as well.’ I know that I have to play my best tennis to beat her in the final here.”
Seven years after playing her last Wimbledon final, when she lost to Serena, Venus was aiming to set up another Williams garden party, but looked a shadow of her former self as she dropped her serve five times and made far too many unforced errors. Maybe it was just a bad day at the office, but an inevitable conclusion was that the years may be catching up on her.
Venus, nevertheless, continues to believe that she can be a contender for major honours.
“I played a lot of great opponents here and had a lot of tough matches,” she said. “I would like to continue to play this way.”
Looking ahead to events like the Olympic Games and the US Open, she described her fortnight here as “a great start” to the northern summer. She also said she would love to return to Wimbledon next year.
Serena had far too much power for Vesnina, beating the Russian in just 48 minutes, which was three minutes shorter than the previous quickest women’s semi-final in the Open era, when Venus beat Dinara Safina at Wimbledon in 2009. Vesnina won only five points in the second set and won just one of the 24 points played on Serena’s first serve.
The two semi-finals lasted a total of just two hours, which prompted a question at Serena’s post-match press conference about whether women deserved equal prize money.
“I think we deserve equal prize money,” Serena told the reporter. “Absolutely. If you happen to write a short article, do you think you don’t deserve the same pay as your beautiful colleague behind you?”