Thu | Aug 17, 2017

TENNIS: Serena on course to claiming 22nd Grand Slam win

Published:Thursday | July 7, 2016 | 7:21 PM

LONDON (AP):
Instead of the ninth all-Williams final at a Grand Slam tournament, there will be a rematch of another sort to determine the title at Wimbledon.

And so as Serena Williams again stands one victory from her record-tying 22nd major title, she will need to beat a woman who already stopped her once this year in that pursuit, Angelique Kerber.

After Williams needed all of 48 minutes to overwhelm Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0 at the All England Club, older sister Venus failed to join in the family fun, losing to Kerber 6-4, 6-4 in Thursday's second semifinal.

Since winning her sixth Wimbledon trophy a year ago to raise her career count at Grand Slam events to 21, Serena has come quite close to pulling even with Steffi Graf at 22 – the most in the Open era, which began in 1968 (Margaret Court's all-time mark is 24).

But the American was surprisingly beaten by Roberta Vinci in the US Open semifinals last September, then by Kerber in the Australian Open final in January, and by Garbine Muguruza in the French Open final last month.

IN PHOTO: Serena Williams of the US (right) shakes hands with Elena Vesnina of Russia after beating her in their women's singles match n day ten of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London today.

Reaching the final at each of a year's first three major tournaments might sound good to other players.

Not to this one.

"For anyone else in this whole planet, it would be a wonderful accomplishment," Serena said. "For me, it's about, obviously, holding the trophy and winning, which would make it a better accomplishment for me. For me, it's not enough. But I think that's what makes me different. That's what makes me Serena."

Yes, she is one of a kind.

When a reporter asked what she makes of it when others talk about her as one of history's greatest female athletes, this was the reply: "I prefer the word, one of the greatest 'athletes' of all time."

Hard to argue.

And the case will be even stronger if she can do what she couldn't in Melbourne: solve Kerber's left-handed game.

"I know," Kerber said, "she will go out and try everything to beat me right now."

That Australian Open victory gave Kerber her first Grand Slam title in her first Grand Slam final.

She insisted today she's more relaxed and more confident on court thanks to that big moment.