Takeaways From Women's Semifinals at Wimbledon: Serena, Kerber to Meet in Final

Jon Wertheim
Sports Illustrated

LONDON – The Wimbledon women’s final is set: It’ll be Serena Williams—36-year-old and mother of a 10-month-old daughter Serena Williams—against Angelique Kerber. Both players advanced to the final with a relatively comfortable straight-set win in their respective semifinal matches. Here are some quick takeaways from each match:

Jelena Ostapenko is like the girl with the curl- When she’s good, she can be very, very good. But when she’s bad, she can be horrid. Today was, unfortunately for her, a case of the latter. She was spraying balls. She was unable to find the court. She was unable to take advantage of her opponent’s sub-80 mph serves. It should come as no surprise, then, that she lost 6-3, 6-3 to Kerber.

• Kerber makes it to her fourth Grand Slam final and second at Wimbledon, as she gave Serena Williams a competitive match two years ago here before ultimately losing 7-5, 6-3. After a dismal 2017 during which she won just under 55% of her matches, a credible argument can be made suggesting she’s been the best player in the women’s game so far this year (she is 32-12 for a much healthier 73% clip). That argument would get much stronger should she win her third career major—against Serena Williams at Wimbledon nonetheless—on Saturday.

• We’ve seen this movie before, but it doesn’t make it any less entertaining: Serena Williams looking vulnerable early in a major, grinding through the first threw days. Then, as the tournament progresses, so does her play. Today, she absolutely dominated play against Germany’s Julia Goerges, who was playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal. Goerges didn’t even really play poorly; Serena just elevated her level as she does once the trophy is in sight. In the end, it was a 6-2, 6-4 triumph.

• Less than two weeks ago we were arguing about Serena’s seed of 25. Now, it is effectively her tournament to lose. We get a rematch of the 2016 final, which Serena won, and it’s hard to expect a different outcome this time around. With that, Serena would tie Margaret Court’s all-time record for Grand Slam singles titles. More remarkably, she will have done so a few months from turning 37 as a mother. This remains the most underrated story in sports, no matter how often it is told.

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