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Wimbledon 2018: Women's final preview

Serena Williams in action at Wimbledon. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
13th July, 2018
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We are down to the final two women at Wimbledon and what a final it promises to be when Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams go head to head for the Venus Rosewater Dish tonight (AEST).

With none of the top ten seeds managing to advance to the quarter-finals, Kerber, seeded 11th, became the highest remaining seed, making her the prohibitive favourite to reach the final from her side of the draw.

She has dropped just one set en route to reaching her second Wimbledon final in three years, and fourth overall major final – but first since she won the 2016 US Open.

After a horrid 2017 season which saw her fail to get past the fourth round at any of the four majors, and fall out of the top 20, the German has rediscovered the form that took her to the top of the rankings in 2016, reaching at least the quarter-finals of the three majors this year to date.

The 30-year-old reached the last four at the Australian Open before being denied by Simona Halep in a titanic clash in which the final set lasted 16 games, while she was also brought undone by the Romanian in the quarter-finals of the French Open, also losing in three sets.

Before all that, she won her first title since capturing the 2016 US Open, defeating Ashleigh Barty in straight sets in the final of the Sydney International in January.

Angelique Kerber French Open

Now, standing in the way of her and a first Wimbledon title is Serena Williams, who very nearly lost her life after suffering from complications following the birth of her daughter, Olympia, last September.

Four months after giving birth, the American nearly pressed ahead with her audacious plan to defend the Australian Open title she won while two months pregnant, but decided against it, citing she wasn’t at 100 per cent fitness.

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After an underwhelming return to competition at Indian Wells and Miami, the 36-year-old managed to reach the fourth round at the French Open before being forced to withdraw before her highly anticipated clash against Maria Sharapova due to a pectoral injury.

But it’s at Wimbledon where she has rediscovered the form that saw her win 23 major titles between 1999 and 2017, and now she has the chance to add to that when she contests her 30th major final overall, and first since her aforementioned win at Melbourne Park in January last year.

Despite being ranked well outside the top 150, she will start as the favourite not only to land her eighth Wimbledon title, but also equal the all-time record of 24 major singles titles won by a man or woman, held by Margaret Court.

Currently ranked 181st in the world, this would be the lowest ranking she has held if she were to salute on Saturday night/Sunday morning (AEST). Her previous lowest ranking when she won a major title was 81st, when she won the 2007 Australian Open by destroying Maria Sharapova in the final.

Here is the all-important information you need to know ahead of tonight’s Wimbledon ladies’ singles final.

[11] Angelique Kerber (GER) versus [25] Serena Williams (USA)
Saturday, July 14
Not before 2:00pm (local time)
Centre Court

Head-to-head
All matches: S Williams 6-2
At the Grand Slams: S Williams 2-1
At Wimbledon: S Williams 1-0
All finals: S Williams 2-1
Grand Slam finals: Tied, 1-1

Angelique Kerber’s road to the final
Round 1: defeated Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 7-5, 6-3
Round 2: defeated Claire Liu (USA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Round 3: defeated [18] Naomi Osaka (JPN) 6-2, 6-4
Round 4: defeated Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)
Quarter-finals: defeated [14] Daria Kasatkina (RUS) 6-3, 7-5
Semi-finals: defeated [12] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-3, 6-3

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Serena Williams’ road to the final
Round 1: defeated Arantxa Rus (NED) 7-5, 6-3
Round 2: defeated Viktoriya Tomova (BUL) 6-1, 6-4
Round 3: defeated Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 7-5, 7-6 (7-2)
Round 4: defeated Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 6-2, 6-2
Quarter-finals: defeated Camila Giorgi (ITA) 3-6, 6-3 6-4
Semi-finals: defeated [13] Julia Goerges (GER) 6-2, 6-4

The stats that matter
* This will be Angelique Kerber’s fourth Grand Slam final, and second at Wimbledon, while for Serena Williams this will be her 30th Grand Slam final and 10th at Wimbledon.
* By the end of this match, their last three meetings will have taken place in Grand Slam finals, having also met in the finals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2016.

Serena Williams at Wimbledon

* Kerber is shooting for her third Grand Slam title, and first at Wimbledon, while Serena is shooting for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title (held by Margaret Court) and eighth at Wimbledon.
* A win for Kerber would see her only need to win the French Open (best result – quarter-finals twice, in 2012 and this year) to complete her set of Grand Slam titles.
* A win for Serena would put her in a very strong position to break the record for the most Grand Slam singles titles held by a man or woman at the US Open in September.
* Kerber is 2-1 in Grand Slam finals; Serena is 23-6.
* Kerber is the second different opponent, after her sister Venus, that Serena has faced more than once in a Wimbledon final. The pair met in the 2016 decider with Serena winning in straight sets.
* Serena is aiming to become the first mother since Kim Clijsters won three of her four majors between the 2009 US Open and 2011 Australian Open to win a major title.

Prediction
Serena Williams in three sets.