SERENA POWERS INTO
10TH WIMBLEDON FINAL
Ashley Marshall | July 12, 2018
Just 10 months after giving birth to daughter Olympia, Serena Williams will play in her 10th Wimbledon final.
The 23-time Grand Slam women's singles champion defeated Julia Goerges of Germany, 6-2, 6-4, in the semifinals on Centre Court Thursday.
The victory sets up a showdown with 2016 US Open champion Angelique Kerber on championship Saturday in a rematch of the 2016 Wimbledon final. A triumph would give the American her eighth Venus Rosewater Dish and move her into a tie with Margaret Court for the most Grand Slam singles titles of all time.
Williams, who did not play at Wimbledon last summer, has now won her past 20 matches at the All England Club, with her most recent loss in southwest London coming in the third round of the 2014 tournament. In the past 10 years, she has won more Wimbledon titles (five) than she has grass-court losses (four).ADVERTISEMENT
On Thursday, Williams earned the first break of the semifinal in the sixth game, after Goerges missed a running forehand down the line. Williams consolidated the break with more big hitting from the back of the court, dominating the baseline rallies and exchanging blows with Goerges, who is also at her most comfortable trading forehands and backhands.
A booming Williams backhand winner and a Goerges double fault gave the American three set points, but she needed just one, as she raced through the final four games of the set. Goerges didn't initially appear fazed by the occasion, the location or the opponent, but she had little to offer by way of reply when Williams moved into another gear.
In the second set, the decisive moments came with Goerges serving at 2-3, 30-30. Williams lofted a defensive lob to the Goerges backhand. The German could only flick the ball back into play, and Williams raced onto the short, angled ball and directed it around the net post to bring up a break point. On the very next point, Goerges tried a drop shot, but the ball clipped the very top of the tape and dropped back onto her side of the court to give Williams a 4-2 advantage.
Williams held to love for a 5-2 lead, before Goerges successfully served to stay in the tournament. With new balls, Williams, who had lost just one point on her serve in the second set, looked set to wrap up the match quickly, but Goerges remained focused and earned her first break of the match.
As quickly as Goerges' momentum arrived, it disappeared. A double fault at 4-5 brought up three match points, and a lob that landed beyond Williams' baseline punched her ticket to the final.
The 36-year-old entered Wimbledon ranked No. 181 in the world but seeded 25th by tournament organizers at their discretion. She was expected to climb to No. 51 with her run to the semifinals and will now climb back to No. 28. With a win two days from now, she will crack the Top 20 and rise to No. 19 in the world.
Williams has won six of eight matches against Kerber, including the only previous time they met at Wimbledon in 2016, when Williams defeated the German in straight sets in the championship match. Their past three matches have all been played for a title, with Kerber winning the 2016 Australian Open final and Williams emerging victorious for the 2014 Bank of the West Classic crown in Stanford, Calif.