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Angelique Kerber will take on seven-time champion Serena Williams in the women’s final of Wimbledon 2018, after both players secured comfortable semi-final victories on Thursday.

Germany’s Kerber was up first and had few problems seeing off Jelena Ostapenko to reach the final at SW19 for the second time in three years.

Williams beat Germany’s Julia Gorges and can capture her 24th Grand Slam title with victory over Kerber on Saturday.

     

Thursday’s Results

(11) Angelique Kerber bt. (12) Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3

(25) Serena Williams bt. (13) Julia Gorges 6-2, 6-4

  

Ostapenko started in determined mood by going for her shots and hitting plenty of winners as she forced Kerber onto the back foot.

It was a high-risk strategy and Kerber could have taken an early advantage, but she could not convert a break point in the opening game.

The breakthrough eventually came due to some excellent retrieving from Kerber which eventually forced Ostapenko to hit long. The German broke to move 4-3 up and was forced to work hard to consolidate her advantage in the next game.

Errors were proving costly for Ostapenko, and a double fault handed Kerber another break and the first set. Freelance writer Ben Rothenberg highlighted her error count:

The momentum was with Kerber, and she quickly moved into a 3-0 lead in the second set. Ostapenko’s tennis was becoming increasingly erratic, and two more games followed to leave Kerber on the brink of victory at 5-1.

Christopher Clarey at the New York Times showed the first serve percentages for both players:

With the finishing line in sight Kerber began to look nervous, but Ostapenko failed to convert another break point at 5-3 as the German managed to see out the win.

The 11th seed offered her verdict after the game, per Metro‘s George Bellshaw:

Kerber will face Williams next after the American booked her place in the final of a Grand Slam for the first time since returning to the tour from maternity leave.

Rothenberg put her achievement into perspective:

The match was a first Grand Slam semi-final for Gorges, and she was up against it from the start. The German saved a break point in her opening service game but managed more winners than her opponent in the early stages.

However, from 2-2 Williams managed to step it up a gear. She won the next four games in a row to clinch the first set.

Rothenberg showed how she was still behind Gorges when it came to winners:

Gorges was making little impact on the Williams serve which was functioning at a high level. Clarey showed just how formidable a weapon it is:

Williams broke again at 4-2, but Gorges produced a brief comeback, as she broke back when her opponent was serving for the match. The American seemed riled by her inability to wrap up the match and promptly hit back to set up a rematch of the Wimbledon 2016 final.

WTA Insider showed how Williams has improved as the tournament has progressed:

It is some achievement for Williams who now has another landmark in sight. A win on Saturday would see her equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles.



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