Can Williams land her 22nd Grand Slam title in the Wimbledon finals, or will Kerber manage the upset?
Angelique Kerber is playing in a Grand Slam final against Serena Williams, the most dominant woman in tennis. It’s an intimidating position to be in, but the fourth-ranked German has one thing going for her: she’s been here once before, and she handled it just fine.
Kerber, who has only ever made it as far as the quarterfinals of the French Open and the semifinals of the US Open, made it all the way to the finals of the Australian Open earlier in the year. There, she met Williams, who at the time had won five of their six matches played against each other.
But Kerber played great, winning five of her nine break point attempts, and winning 44 percent of her receiving points. Most importantly, Williams committed 46 unforced errors while Kerber played a much cleaner match with just 13 unforced errors. Williams had 47 winners to Kerber’s 25, but in the end it was the German who walked away with the 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory and her first Grand Slam title.
At the time, Williams was making her second bid at landing her 22nd Grand Slam title after winning No. 21 at Wimbledon some months before, and losing in the semifinals of the US Open more recently. Fast forward two Grand Slams later, and Williams still doesn’t have No. 22, losing to Garbine Muguruza in the finals of the French Open.
Getting No. 22 is important to her. It would tie her with Steffi Graf for the most singles Grand Slam titles of any woman in the Open Era. It’s unclear when the 34-year-old Williams will stop playing but for now she’s still at the top of her game and will be favored big-time going into Saturday’s finals against Kerber.
Kerber’s route to the finals was a lot more impressive as the draw was much less kind to her. She went through Misaki Doi in the fourth round and then had a tough quarterfinal match against Simona Halep, the tournament’s fifth seed. But Kerber won that match in straight sets, and then took down Serena’s sister, Venus Williams, in the semifinals.
Williams barely faced any seeded competition, taking on unseeded Elena Vesnina in the semifinals. She faced No. 21 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarterfinals and No. 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round. Williams is known for her strong serve, but Kerber has made a massive 85 percent of her returns on her way to the finals.
Saturday’s match will begin at 9 a.m. ET and will be broadcast from Centre Court on ESPN. A live stream will be available via WatchESPN.