Sat | Mar 24, 2018

Serena, Kerber to meet in Wimbledon final

Published:Friday | July 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Serena Williams of the US celebrates after beating Elena Vesnina of Russia in their women's singles semi-final at Wimbledon yesterday.
Germany's Angelique Kerber reacts after defeating Venus Williams of the US in their women's singles semi-final at Wimbledon yesterday.


Venus Williams' deepest Grand Slam run in a half-dozen years ended one victory short of what would have been yet another Wimbledon title match against her sister Serena.

Unable to replicate the sort of turn-back-time performance that carried her to the semi-finals at the All England Club, Venus was broken in her first four service games yesterday and lost to No. 4-seeded Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4.

The 36-year-old Venus was the oldest Slam semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova was 37 at Wimbledon in 1994. Venus is a five-time champion at the grass-court tournament, but she hadn't made it this far since at Wimbledon since 2009, or at any major since the 2010 US Open.

So now, instead of an all-Williams final tomorrow, it will be Kerber against No. 1 Serena in a rematch of the Australian Open final won by the German in January.

That was Kerber's first Grand Slam title, and prevented Serena from collecting her record-equalling 22nd. Now Serena is once again so close to that number.

In control from start to finish in yesterday's first semi-final, Serena needed all of 48 minutes to overwhelm Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0 in what felt like a training session.

Except Serena probably gets more of a workout when she practises.

"You have to admit she was just better. She was stronger, faster," Vesnina said. "I couldn't do anything today."

Serena's serve was in fine form, reaching 123 mph and producing 11 aces against the 50th-ranked Vesnina, who was making her major semi-final debut.


Serena won 28 of 31 points that she served, including the last 17, and compiled a 28-9 edge in total winners.

Since winning her sixth Wimbledon trophy a year ago to raise her career count to 21 majors, Serena has come quite close to tying Steffi Graf with 22, the most in the Open era, which began in 1968 (Margaret Court holds the all-time mark of 24). But Serena was surprisingly beaten by Roberta Vinci in the US Open semi-finals last September, then by Kerber in Melbourne, and by Garbine Muguruza in the French Open final last month.

"I mean, I think for anyone else in this whole planet, it would be a wonderful accomplishment," Serena said about reaching her third Grand Slam final of the year. "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."

And now she has given herself yet another chance to catch Graf.

Except rather than a fifth Williams vs Williams final at Wimbledon, and ninth at a major, it will be Serena vs Kerber.

Serena has won five of their previous seven matches.