After all the upsets of the last fortnight in the ladies’ tournament, the final will be a repeat of the 2016 showpiece.
Serena Williams is chasing an eighth Wimbledon title as well as Margaret Court’s Grand Slam wins record, but she faces a tough task against Angelique Kerber who has been back to her best form this year.
Keep reading for your 2018 Wimbledon ladies’ singles final preview.
Serena in final in just her fourth tournament since becoming a mum
Considering that she has admitted that she almost died in childbirth just 10 months ago, it is quite astonishing that Serena Williams is even competing at a Grand Slam event, never mind in the final.
Williams was confined to bed for six weeks following the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia and this is only the fourth tournament of her comeback. And, a win in the final would see her become just the fourth woman ever to return to tennis after becoming a mother and winning a Grand Slam title. Kim Clijsters was the last, but Williams will be a decade older than the Belgian if she takes the Wimbledon title this weekend.
During her time out of the game, Williams lost count of the number of surgeries she had. “It was just routine every day, I had to have a new surgery. Because of all the blood issues I have, I was really touch-and-go for a minute.”
A win for Williams would also see her equal Margaret Court’s record for Grand Slam wins, and her eighth Wimbledon title would be her 24th Grand Slam win.
In fairness, it’s not been Williams’ toughest run to the final. The 25th seed didn’t face a top 50 player until her semi-final against Julia Gorges and in her 23 slam victories so far, the only time she has faced so few seeded opponents was at the 2002 French Open. Indeed, based on the ranking of the opponents she has faced, it’s actually the easiest run to a major final of her long career.
After her win over Gorges, Williams said: “I remember I couldn’t even walk to my mail box so it’s definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final. I’m taking everything as it is and just enjoying every moment.
“It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel. I literally didn’t expect to do this well in my fourth tournament back. I just feel like when I don’t have anything to lose I can play so free. That’s what I’m doing.”
Kerber back to her best after disappointing 2017
2016 was an amazing year for Angelique Kerber. After a moderately successful career for the best part of a decade – a couple of Grand Slam semi-finals – she suddenly rose to number one in the world on the back of reaching three major finals in one year.
The German won the 2016 Australian Open and French Open, but lost in her first Wimbledon final to this weekend’s opponent, Serena Williams.
Having risen to the top of the rankings Kerber was unable to maintain her form, losing in the first round in both Paris and New York last year, but 2018 has been much brighter for the 30-year-old. She reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, eventually losing 9-7 in the final set of a mammoth clash with Simona Halep, and then equalled her best performance on the clay at Roland Garros by reaching the last eight.
It’s actually been a pretty comfortable run to the final for the 11th seed. The only set she dropped was to qualifier Claire Liu in round two, and she has been impressive when beating seeds of the quality of Naomi Osaka, Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko.
After her semi-final win Kerber said: “It’s such a great feeling to be back in the final here. I’m really excited. It’s tough but I’m happy that I’m through. It doesn’t matter who I face in the final. I will just go out and try and win the match.”
Williams set for record-breaking win
The pair have met eight times before and Williams has won six of those matches. The American also won the pair’s most recent meeting, and crucially that was on Centre Court in the 2016 final.
However, this is Williams’ first Grand Slam final in almost 18 months and the gap between the two players is arguably narrower than it was two years ago. Kerber has plenty of experience and has beaten Williams in a Grand Slam final, and so she won’t be overawed by either the occasion or her opponent.
It could be a record breaking day on Centre Court and Williams has improved round-by-round. This could be closer than the 2016 final but the American can bag an amazing 24th Grand Slam title at 1/2.
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Also published on Medium.