Friday, July 8, 2016

Angelique Kerber to face Serena Williams once again on championship day

Which is greater? To have the confidence that comes only with having already beaten Serena in a major final--or to know that, having beaten her in a major final, she's coming to get you. Perhaps the two somehow neutralize each other. At any rate, 4th seed Angelique Kerber will be balancing on the tip of that spinning coin tomorrow when she and defending champion Serena Williams face off to determine who will be the 2016 Wimbledon champion.

Kerber, who beat Williams to win the Australian Open in a thrilling final, has yet to drop a set in her Wimbledon campaign. For her part, top seed Williams has demonstrated why she is one of the greatest athletes in the world, putting on some tennis demonstrations in the final rounds that made her look unbeatable by anyone. Williams, in a pattern not unusual for her, has gradually "played her way into" the final, becoming more deadly as the stakes got higher.

In short, KareBear has her work cut out for her. But it will be competitive because Kerber is on fire in London the way she was in Melbourne. She'll have to bring one of her better serves (like many WTA players, Kerber's serve can change from match to match), which means getting as many first serves in as possible. The German is not a master of the second serve--few are--and she knows that her opponent will be on the ready to destroy any that are weak.

Back to the coin metaphor--the flip side is that Kerber is more likely than many handle the Williams serve (when it isn't an ace). Kerber's defensive play gets better all the time, and she can make successful recovery shots in long sequences, especially when they involve her forehand.

Williams has won 21 major single titles; Kerber has won only the 2016 Australian Open, but--as previously noted--she did it by beating Williams.

To get to the final, Kerber defeated Venus Williams in the semifinal, which gives her the unenviable task of not only having to beat both Williams sisters, but having to beat them back to back.

In the meantime, Venus and Serena reached the women's doubles final by defeating Julia Goerges and Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals. In the quarterfinals, the unseeded Williams sisters defeated 4th seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. On the same day, Serena defeated Vesnina in the singles quarterfinal, also. The other last team standing is that of Timea Babos and Yaroslava Shvedova. The 5th seeds defeated Raquel Atawo and Abigail Spears in the semifinals. In the quarterfinals, they took out top seeds and defending champions Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza.

Here are Williams' and Kerber's paths to the final:


round 1--def. Amra Sadikovic
round 2-- def. Christina McHale
round 3--def. Annika Beck
round of 16--def. Svetlana Kuznetsova (13)
quarterfinals--def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (21)
semifinals--def. Elena Vesnina 


round 1--def. Laura Robson (wc)
round 2--def. Varvara Lepchenko
round 3--def. Carina Witthoeft
round of 16--def. Misaki Doi
quarterfinals--def. Simona Halep (5)
semifinals--def. Venus Williams (8)

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