x

Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 October 2018

Serena Williams beats Angelique Kerber to win 24th major: Wimbledon women's final guide and predictions

The third meeting in a major final between the pair since 2016 is predicted to go the way of the American No 25 seed

Serena Williams goes for a 24th grand slam title against Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon women's final. Reuters
Serena Williams goes for a 24th grand slam title against Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon women's final. Reuters

Ahead of the Wimbledon women's final on Saturday, which begins at 5pm UAE time, here is a rundown of what to look for and a prediction on the outcome.

Angelique Kerber v Serena Williams

Lowdown In a way, given everything we know about Serena Williams's fight and will to win, that has propelled her to 23 grand slam titles, is anyone genuinely surprised to see her in the final?

Yes, there is the small matter that it is just over 10 months since she became a mother after giving birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, but when Williams has challenged herself throughout her career she has rarely come up short when it counts.

An eighth Wimbledon title is one game away from her now and given her momentum it is hard to see how Angelique Kerber stops her.

There is no doubt she has been helped by been given the seeding of No 25, despite being No 181 in the WTA rankings going into the event, and also by the fall of the top seeds in the tournament.

Given how dominant Williams is on grass, you have to go back to July 2014 when she lost to Alize Cornet for her last loss at SW19, it is very probable that she would have swatted aside Elina Svitolina (the No 5 seed and scheduled third round opponent) and Madison Keys (No 10 seed and fourth round opponent) had she faced them.

_____________

Read more

Super mum Serena Williams to face Angelique Kerber in Wimbledon final

Wimbledon semi-final predictions: Nadal beats Djokovic as Anderson defeats Isner

Roger Federer out of Wimbledon after five-set loss to Kevin Anderson

Wimbledon refuses to budge despite clash with World Cup final

_____________

Instead they dropped by the wayside and Williams did not have to face a seeded opponent until Julia Gorges (No 13) in the semi-final, who she beat for the loss of only six games.

The danger for the rest of the field was that if Williams successfully navigated the opening rounds she would get better with every match, and that is exactly what happened.

She suffered a scare in the quarter-finals against an inspired Camila Giorgi, the world No 52, dropping the first set. But the power of her game, and Giorgi's inability to keep up her high first set level, got her through that.

Williams showed by hammering Gorges that she has definitely found her range, and while probably not still at her 2014-2015 levels in terms of overall play and movement, she is still more than a match for most of the WTA field.

Kerber is on her own comeback trail. After a vintage 2016 in which she won the Australian Open and US Open, she struggled in 2017 and fell from world No 1 to outside the top 20.

But she has bounced back this year and a run to the Wimbledon final where she has had demonstrated the battling qualities to the top two years ago.

A post shared by Angelique Kerber (@angie.kerber) on

She was forced to scrap to get past Belinda Bencic and Daria Kasatkina in the fourth round and quarter-finals in matches that were not as straightforward as the straight sets results indicate.

But, the way she took part Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals was impressive and she has to have real hope she can stop Williams.

She pushed Williams hard in a losing effort in the 2016 Wimbledon final, and if she can match her performance from then on Saturday she will fancy her chances.

Williams is still a powerful force from the back of the court. What Kerber must do is try and stay out of the hitting zone of the American, move her around as much as she at the baseline to test just how good her stamina is, and stay in rallies and force her rival to win the points.

Past meetings The pair last competed in the aforementioned 2016 Wimbledon final, which Williams won 7-5, 6-3.

Kerber though does the confidence boost of beating her to win the Australian Open title in 2016 and she will need to channel that spirit on Saturday.

Overall, Williams leads the head-to-head 6-2, and all six of the Williams wins have been in straight sets.

Prediction Serena Williams wins 2-1

Kerber is back to her 2016 levels and if she had met Williams in the third or fourth round her chances would have greatly improved.

But, Williams has six matches under her belt, comfortably her longest run of games since winning the 2017 Australian Open title, and with the momentum she now has she caps off her amazing return to the sport with her 24th grand slam title.