Subscribe for 33¢ / day
APTOPIX Britain Wimbledon Tennis

Serena Williams returns the ball to Julia Gorges during their women's singles semifinals match at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

LONDON — Yes, this will be Serena Williams' 10th Wimbledon final. Yes, it's her 30th title match at any major. And, well, sure, she's widely regarded as not just the best of her era, but any era.

Let others shrug at this latest accomplishment, as if all it signified were merely another chance at another in a long line of trophies. Williams is not shy about saying she, for one, is impressed by this. Rightly so. For it was only about 10 months ago she was having a baby and then dealing with a serious health scare that followed.

Even after all of that, even after more than a year away from the game, even in only the fourth tournament of her comeback, Williams showed she's still capable of dominance. Especially at the All England Club, where a relatively routine 6-2, 6-4 victory over 13th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany on Thursday put Williams one win away from an eighth championship.

She's also closing in on her 24th Grand Slam title, which would equal Margaret Court's all-time record.

"A lot of people were saying, 'Oh, she should be in the final,'" the 36-year-old Williams said. "For me it's such a pleasure and a joy because, you know, less than a year ago, I was going through so much stuff."

After hitting five aces with a serve that reached 119 mph, delivering 16 winners to only seven unforced errors, and covering the court so well with speed and effort, Williams will face another German, 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber, on Saturday.

"Whatever happens, honestly," Williams said, "it's an incredible effort from me."

The left-handed Kerber, a former No. 1 and two-time major champion, beat 12th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 earlier Thursday.

"Seeing her back, it's great," said Kerber, who has lost six of eight previous matches against Williams. "I know that she is always pushing you to the limits."

Kerber let 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko determine the outcome of nearly every point. By the end, Ostapenko had far more winners, 30-10, and far more unforced errors, 36-7.

Williams vs. Kerber will be a rematch of the 2016 final. Williams won that for a second consecutive Wimbledon title, then sat out the grass-court tournament last year while pregnant, part of a 16-month gap between majors.

After giving birth to daughter Olympia last September, Williams was treated for blood clots.

"I lost count after, like, four surgeries," said Williams, who has been wearing compression leggings this fortnight as a precaution.

Her first Grand Slam tournament back was the French Open, where she won three matches before withdrawing last month because of an injured chest muscle.

All of the time away pushed someone who's spent more than 300 weeks ranked No. 1 down the rankings — she began Wimbledon at 181st, but was seeded 25th on account of her past success — and no one could quite be sure how the American would fare over these two weeks.

Not even Williams knew.

"This is not inevitable for me. I had a really tough delivery ... and almost didn't make it, to be honest," Williams said. "I remember I couldn't even walk to my mail box, so it's definitely not 'normal' for me to be in a Wimbledon final."

The victory over Goerges extended Williams' winning streak at Wimbledon to 20 matches, dating to the start of the 2015 edition. She's also won her past 15 Grand Slam matches since the start of the 2017 Australian Open, which she won while pregnant.

That title pushed her past Steffi Graf's record of 22 majors in the half-century professional era; Court won some of her Slams during the amateur era.

Men's draw

After so much speculation about a possible Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, 10 years after their last, the tennis world instead will get a semifinal featuring another outstanding rivalry: Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic.

Friday's showdown will be their 52nd meeting overall — the most for any pair of men and 14 more installments than Federer vs. Nadal — and first at the All England Club since 2011.

That was also the last time Nadal made it past the fourth round at the grass-court major; Djokovic, who holds a 26-25 head-to-head lead, beat him in that year's final.

"We always played in important stages, important places," said Nadal, who had a far rougher go of things in the quarterfinals than Djokovic, needing more than 4½ hours to edge Juan Martin del Potro in a five-set thriller. "Friday is another important match against an opponent that is one of the most difficult ones that you can face. He's playing well. Only way to try to win it is (to) play very well."

0
0
0
0
0

Load comments