July 7, 2016
Angelique Kerber defeated Venus Williams with a superb cross-court winner and was soon reflecting on Saturday’s much-anticipated showdown with Serena.
The German beat the elder Williams sister 6-4, 6-4 to set up a repeat of the Australian Open final, when Kerber shocked the world by coming out on top against Serena.
‘It’ll be a new match and a new surface,’ she warned. ‘I’m just going to go out there and try to play my game and hopefully play my best tennis because I’m so pleased with the way it is going.’
Serena sounded ominous in her assessment of Kerber and the European’s chances of a repeat performance.
Looking back to Melbourne, Serena commented: ‘I made a lot of errors. She made little to no unforced errors. It was still a three-set match. I felt I could have played better.’
Before her sister’s defeat, Serena had been imaging a final against her big sister. ‘That would mean that the Williams name is on the trophy again, which is the objective for both of us,’ Serena said.
But it wasn’t to be, at least not for Venus, who looked out of sorts from the start. Whether it was exhaustion, illness or nerves, she looked a shadow of the player who had come this far with such fighting tennis.
She and Kerber both struggled to hold their serve or find any sort of rhythm in the first set. The second set was of a higher quality but in truth Angelique didn’t show the sort of scintllating form that won her the Australian Open.
Once more, Serena must start favourite. She destroyed Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0 in just 48 minutes and with such ruthless simplicity that the first semi-final was, in all honesty, a complete mis-match.
And it will be a relief to some that Serena’s attempt to equal Steffi Graf’s total of 22 Grand Slams will not be complicated by the fact that her opponent is her sister.
The renewal of her rivalry with Kerber seems like a less complex contest, though it will be no less hard fought. Kerber could still raise her level to produce yet another surprise.
But with Williams already playing at a higher level than any of the other semi-finalists, it looks as though history can finally be made in what promises to be a momentous Ladies Singles Final.
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