Sublime Serena to face Kerber in her 10th Wimbledon final
Sublime Serena to face Kerber in her 10th Wimbledon final
Kerber through to Wimbledon final after easy win over Ostapenko
13 July, 2018, 03:19
Or, more to the point on this afternoon, how such a stinging serve and groundstrokes didn't help her avoid first-round exits each of the past five years at Wimbledon.
On Saturday, Williams can match Australian Margaret Court's record 24 Grand Slam singles titles and move one shy of Martina Navratilova's record nine Wimbledons.
Today, at 36 and just 10 months removed from a hard childbirth that was followed by grave health complications, she's bemused by those who expected her to reach Wimbledon's final this year, so soon after returning to competition.
Especially at the All England Club, where a relatively routine 6-2 6-4 victory over 13th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) put Williams one win away from an eighth championship. Goerges, playing her first Slam semifinal, sent a forehand flying wide off the sidelines to concede serve.
Serena Williams demonstrated that having a baby had not robbed her of any of her phenomenal tennis skills when she became the first mother in 38 years to reach the Wimbledon final, with a 6-2 6-4 demolition of Germany's Julia Goerges on Thursday.
"I have to be ready for the match of my life", Williams said. I think it doesn't matter against who she is playing.
Just 10 months ago the seven-time Wimbledon champion gave birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, and complications stemming from an emergency C-section and her predisposition to blood clots left her bedridden for her first six weeks of motherhood. Autograph hunters, selfie-seekers, memorabilia collectors, young, old, girls and boys, asking her to smile, telling her to keep going, calling her an inspiration.
Nearly inevitably, Williams gained a third break to charge to a 5-2 lead before showing her first signs of nerves to drop serve for the only time while trying to close out the semi-final.
"It's about picking yourself up off the floor", said Jill Smoller, Williams's close friend, confidante and agent of almost 20 years. "Again, I've said it all week, this is only my fourth tournament back. That's what I'm doing", Serena said.
Serena Williams is into the Wimbledon final. I know that I have to play my best tennis in the final.
Extended bed rest followed.
'I remember when I couldn't even walk to my mailbox, so it's definitely not normal to be in a Wimbledon final'. "In a way, it's by far the toughest, but in a way it's by far the best". She was ranked No. 1 when she took her maternity leave and was ranked 183rd in the world after returning to the tour in March. She lost in the quarterfinals to 12th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko.
It was a process, as was reclaiming her movement, her timing and the power in her serve - particularly after injuring a pectoral muscle midway through the French Open.
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