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Mom Serena ready for Angelique

When I don't have anything to lose, I can play very freely, says the American

Serena Williams

London: 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.

Goerges had come into her first Grand Slam semi-final having belted more winners (199), more aces (44) and more unreturned serves (113) than anyone else in the women’s draw, but those statistics counted for little when she came up against an opponent who is in hot pursuit of a record-equalling 24th major.

Serena will take on Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the final on Saturday.

Kerber proved too steady for Latvian Jelena Ostapenko as she reached her second Wimbledon final with a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 victory.

A first-ever duel between the two Grand Slam champions with diametrically opposed playing styles ultimately boiled down to a simple mathematical formula. Young firebrand Ostapenko’s 30 winners far outweighed the 10 struck by the wily Kerber but the 36 unforced errors she committed on Centre Court made for an ugly balance sheet.

Remarkably, the 36-year-old Serena was back in a Grand Slam final just 10 months after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia.

“It’s crazy. I don’t even know how to feel because I literally didn’t think I’d do this well in my fourth tournament back in 16 months,” said the American, who won the 2017 Australian Open while in the early stages of her pregnancy.

“When I don’t have anything to lose, I can just play so free and that’s what I’m doing.

“This is not inevitable for me, I had a really tough delivery and multiple surgeries and almost didn’t make it to be honest. I couldn’t even walk to my mailbox, so it’s definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final.

“I’m enjoying every moment.” That enjoyment was clear to see as she dashed Goerges’s hopes of setting up an all-German final with Kerber in 70 unforgiving minutes.

The 13th seed had never taken a set off Serena in three previous meetings and unfortunately for her, the American was once again at her dominant best on Thursday as she bludgeoned down five aces and 16 winners to finish off Goerges.

In each set Goerges was broken in the sixth game and she simply did not have the firepower or belief to stop the seven-times champion from surging to a 20th successive win on the hallowed turf.

Serena was back giving the crowd a one-arm raised victory twirl after reaching a 10th Wimbledon final when her opponent swiped a lob behind the baseline. At 181st in the world, Serena is the lowest ranked player to reach the women's final but that number will fool no one, and especially not Kerber who was runner-up to the American in the 2016 final.

Young firebrand Ostapenko’s 30 winners far outweighed the 10 struck by the wily Kerber, but the 36 unforced errors she committed on Centre Court made for an ugly balance sheet.

The 30-year-old Kerber, who offered up only a miserly seven free points, really just had to stay calm and wait for her opponent to self-destruct and Ostapenko fell into the trap.

“I was expecting that she is playing like she played from the beginning: really hard, pushing me back,” Kerber said.
“I was trying to stay focused and play every single point because she started really well. Then I was just trying to find my rhythm and take my chances when I had them.”

DAY VIII RESULTS

Men’s singles, Round IV: Juan Martin del Potro (5, Arg) bt Gilles Simon (Fra) 7-6(1), 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5).
Women’s singles, Quarter finals: Jelena Ostapenko (12, Lat) bt Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) 7-5, 6-4; Angelique Kerber (11, Ger) bt Daria Kasatkina (14, Rus) 6-3, 7-5; Julia Goerges (13, Ger) bt Kiki Bertens (20, Ned) 3-6, 7-5, 6-1; Serena Williams (25, US) bt Camila Giorgi (Ita) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.  

Men’s doubles, Quarter finals: Mike Bryan (7, US)/ Jack Sock (7, US) bt Divij Sharan (Ind)/ Artem Sitak (NZL) 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-4. 

DAY IX RESULTS

Men’s singles, Quarter finals: Kevin Anderson (8, RSA) bt Roger Federer (1, Sui) 2-6, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11; John Isner (9, US) bt Milos Raonic (13, Can) 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 6-4, 6-3; Novak Djokovic (12, Srb) bt Kei Nishikori (24, Jpn) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2; Rafael Nadal (2, Esp) bt Juan Martin del Potro (5, Arg) 7-5, 6-7(7), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. 

Seeded players and Indians only

Reuters

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