Women’s Wimbledon 2016 Final Preview: Serena Williams v Angelique Kerber

Kerber

The 2016 Wimbledon women’s final will be a repeat of the Australian Open final from earlier this year as the world number one, Serena Williams will play the world number four, Angelique Kerber on Saturday afternoon.

Semi-finals day was a swift one for the women with both matches finished within two hours. Serena took just 48 minutes to see off first time Slam semi-finalist, Elena Vesnina, 6-2 6-0. It was an absolutely sensational performance from Serena who produced a dreamy set of stats:

11 aces

77% first serves in

3 points dropped behind the serve

28 winners to 7 unforced errors

5/7 net points won

Vesnina may have only won two out of 14 games but she still came away with a positive winners to unforced errors differential of +2. The Russian player gave it her all but Serena was on a mission. Vesnina looked very nervous as she stepped out to serve for the first time and her footwork was slightly hampered, which is completely understandable. Vesnina can hittt the ball, but her flat strokes kind of played into Serena’s hands; with her lack of variety, there wasn’t much to disrupt the world number one’s rhythm and she was ON it from the start.

Vesnina saved a break point at *0-4 to get on the board in the first set, displaying a rather relieved smile! Serena wrapped up the first set with an ace. The American quickly broke at the start of the second set and then delivered a quite breathtaking service game at *1-0; Two aces, an unreturnable with her fastest serve of the match, and then a delightful angled forehand winner. Serena tore through the second set, breaking twice more, and sealing a *5-0 lead with an incredible passing shot winner. Huge credit to Vesnina for what she has achieved during this tournament but on this occasion, Serena was just simply too good.

The second semi-final was a much tighter affair but still decided in straight sets; Kerber defeated Venus Williams, 6-4 6-4, The first set was a break-happy affair with seven breaks in ten games. Kerber earnt the first hold of serve to lead 4-2 but was unable to serve out the set at the first time of asking. Second time round, Kerber sealed it with a forehand into the net from Venus on set point. The forehand continually let down Venus and another wild one sailed long to give Kerber the early advantage in the second set.

Venus didn’t play her best but like all her matches during this tournament, she grew into it and kept plugging away. Venus prevented Kerber from going up a double break with a gorgeous pick-up at the net down break point. Kerber maintained her break of serve and had a super hold at 4-3, sealing game point with a smart and well-executed drop shot winner. There were a handful of smoking rallies and the match point may have been the pick of the bunch. After going toe-to-toe, Kerber’s willingness to go down-the-line opened up the rally and she finished off proceedings with a trademark forehand passing shot winner.

Head-to-head record: Serena leads Angie, 5-2 in their head-to-head. All five of Serena’s wins have come in straight sets, but it was Angie who won their last match back in the Australian Open final, producing the performance of her career to triumph, 6-4 3-6 6-4. All seven previous encounters have taken place on hard courts.

Interesting stat: For the second consecutive year, Serena has reached the final of the first three Slams of the year. 2015 was the first time she achieved this feat in her career. While she has been runner-up in the two Slams this year (the first ever time she has lost consecutive Slam finals), Serena’s consistency has still been remarkable, reaching the final at seven of her last eight Slams. For Kerber, Wimbledon is now her most consistent Slam in terms of W-L record (20-8). She’s also got a perfect 100% record in Slam finals after the win over Serena in Melbourne!

Final thoughts: The pressure will firmly be on Serena in this final as she seeks Slam #22. She said in press about something being different at Wimbledon and she is calmer. It’s up to you whether you believe that but her performances in the last few rounds have gone a long way to validate those claims. While Kerber is at home on this surface, I think this match-up on grass will favour Serena in terms of the serve. It wasn’t firing in the first few rounds but as has become tradition with her previous title runs, Serena has found her mojo on the serve and looked incredibly secure behind it, particularly in the semi-finals.

Kerber showed in Australia that she has plenty of assets to her game that can make life very tricky for the world number one. Her defence is second to none and her ability to pick a target when her opponent is at the net makes her dangerous. Kerber has produced nuggets of variety this week with drop shots and slices that have helped her to reach the final without dropping a set. This will be imperative in the final to try and throw Serena off her game and not allow her to settle.

For me, it comes down to the serve on grass… i’m going for Serena and #22.

Photo in this post by mootennis.com

15 thoughts on “Women’s Wimbledon 2016 Final Preview: Serena Williams v Angelique Kerber

  1. Australia was something of an anomaly in the sense that nobody really saw Kerber winning and Angie played one of, if not THE, the bravest and best match of her career. I’d say if anything that puts her at a real disadvantage here because she’s going to have to try and replicate a towering achievement.
    And on Serena’s side it should help calm her nerves knowing she has to be on it. But then I did say the same in Paris against Muguruza. If her serve abandons her here as it did there then Kerber could definitely push her way into this match. Serena has shown real doubt in all of her finals this year bar Rome. But this almost feels like a ‘must win’ scenario for her and I think that’ll push her across the finish line.

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  2. In both former finals Serena was passive and not her usual aggressive self,her serve went missing at crucial times,also in Paris her footwork was missing.Angie at the AO deserved her win,she was far more the aggressive player,likewise Garbine at RG.

    Kerber has yet to drop a set,after a shaky performance against McHale,Serena has improved out of sight,especially her serve,which is such an added bonus on grass.
    As long as Serena goes for her shots and stays aggressive on grass she should win.

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    • You’d feel that the surface here definitely should spur Serena to be more aggressive.

      I only saw the highlights of both semi finals but I was very impressed by how Kerber played her down the line shots, which really are world class! I do feel like it’s much easier to send balls down the line when given fast, flat strokes though. Serena has been playing with much more spin this tournament than she ever has before, especially on the forehand side, which should make it very awkward for Angie to step in and take the ball early.

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      • I do agree, Kerber has her naysayers, but here we are again at a final where other grass court players have fallen along the way. She was tactically sound against Venus. But, with Venus you virtually know what you are going to get. Serena is more difficult to judge, but having nothing to lose can make Kerber a very dogged challenger.

        I really hope there will be little tension in this match so both women can play freely. The contrasting styles will make it very interesting with Serena having to be defensive sometimes to get her going whiles Kerber has to do the opposite, be offensive to keep her in it.

        BTW, does doubles final come before or after the final.

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  3. Kerber at the Aussie Open was a bit of a surprise. Muguruza at the French Open was not. Garbine was prepared for that final in more ways than one.

    Unlike the former two Slams, this Slam feels more like home to Serena, and she is playing someone she has encountered recently. The battle field of the mind is where this would be won or lost. There was much hype surrounding the Australian encounter, this time it is relative more composed, which is good. They both know what each other can do. I think Kerber’s chances are as good as any. In my mind, something’s got to give at one point for Serena considering her quest, it just so happens she’s come against one of the more ‘ungivable/defensive’ players in the top 10. This feels like 3 sets in the making.

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  4. I agree the final is going to be more mental than who has more shots, Serena was very calm today against Vesnina but Kerber is a different player, and she is someone who if gets inside your head will not be easy to remove, Serena will need to bring her best tomorrow to win, second best will not be enough.

    It will come down to Serena’s nerves more than her racket, in either case I am going with her.

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    • She is indeed. Serena can’t afford a slow start like in Melbourne where she hit half a dozen errors in the first 3 games. She can’t feed Kerber that kind of confidence.

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  5. Kerber’s outstanding retreiving could make the match close if Serena isn’t on, but her serve is weak and will be punished too many times. Serena hasn’t lost serve in her past 2 matches and Kerber has barely held serve in her last 2.

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  6. Venus serve and net game let her down today. She came alive in the second set but it was to late. And Serena had to carry her in doubles today. I have to give Venus credit, if she had a little bit more energy it might have been a different outcome.

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  7. @9′;@&’*@(@?’)!?_》£¡×¤¿£¡¥¡\¡£♡+×]|¿\¤÷}פ+¤+》 !!!!!!

    haha – I’m happy for Angie as you can see!! No expectations for Saturday, really wish for a competitive final.
    I only see the positives:
    – if Angie wins it would probably stop that talk on what a fluke run she did at AO and that she is not a legit contender
    – if Serena wins, Angie still has the AO title plus we would all witness something great and special.

    I think the outcome is all about Serena though. If she can cope with nerves etc and if her serve is firing I don’t see Angie winning a set. If she is nervous though, I agree that Angie would get in Serena’s head.

    I’d say third time lucky for Serena – Serena in two!

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  8. Patrick Mouratoglou has been an Analyst with the ESPN Tennis Commentators. So, we know that he’s been working with Serena on everything throughout this tournament. I feel like Serena will be more aware of this match than in Australia, because she knows how good Angie is. I say Serena will get to Grand Slam #22 in two tight sets.

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  9. William sisters are through to the doubles final beating Pliskova and Georges.
    Doubles final will be played after the singles final.

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  10. I do not feel excited by this final. I was more more enthralled by the Lisicki & Bartoli final a few years ago. Speaking of; I’m very sad to hear the news that Marion is seriously ill. I hope she manages to get to the bottom of her mystery disease soon. Strong on and off the court!

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  11. What I wonder the most about is that people would think that gras as a surface heavily favours Serena? The only advantage I see for her in this regard is that her serve can even do more damage. Apart from this, I think they are equal on this surface. Lots of people are saying that in Australia, it was easier for Angie to retrieve because of the surface. This might be true but to be honest, as regards the surface, Australia is quite slow and usually, slow surfaces do not favour Angies game and her flat groundstrokes. IMO her best surface is gras!
    So what do you people think on it? IMO Serena has the advantage of her serve firing even better on gras – apart from this I don’t think the surface will favour anyone? More about Serena’s nerves and bringing her A-Game than anything else.

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