Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber Wimbledon Final tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Kerber stands between Serena and record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title

Leye Aduloju in Wimbledon 13 Jul 2018
  • Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber is live from Wimbledon on Friday, 14 July from 2:00pm local time/ BST
  • Williams leads Kerber 6-2 on head-to-head
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Serena Williams. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Just over nine months after giving birth to her first child, Serena Williams attempts to win her 24th Grand Slam title when she takes on Germany's Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final on Saturday. 
It has been a truly remarkable effort from Williams, who has powered into the Wimbledon final in just her fourth tournament back after child birth. If she goes on to win the title, Williams will become just the fourth mother to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era, joining Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Kim Clijsters in that exclusive list.

"It's been a crazy 10 months. I was still pregnant at this time last year. That's something I have to keep reminding myself”, Serena said.

Williams and Kerber meet in a repeat of the 2016 final, which Williams won 7-5 6-3, and should the 36-year-old claim another victory on Saturday, she will move up to eight Wimbledon titles, just one behind Martina Navratilova on the all-time list of most successful players at the All England Club. 

Kerber of course has different ideas as she seeks a third Grand Slam title, following her successes at the Australian Open and US Open in 2016. And so, after a raucous women's draw, which consumed all of the top ten seeds before the quarter finals, we've still got a heavyweight final between an all-time great and one of the leading lights of the modern game in a testament to the remarkable depth of the women's field.

After spending a year away from the tour due to pregnancy and child birth, Williams returned to the sport in February, via the Fed Cup, but she made her WTA comeback at Indian Wells, where she reached the third round before losing to Venus Williams. She got a really rough opening round draw against Naomi Osaka in Miami, and she duly fell in straight sets to the Japanese star, who was coming off a sensational title-winning run in California. 

Serena then skipped most of the clay-court season, opting to get more practice before returning to competition- she eventually played at Roland Garros, where she reached the fourth round before pulling out of a meeting with Maria Sharapova due to a pectoral injury. 

The great American returned in time for Wimbledon, where she has compiled a magnificent run to reach her tenth final at the tournament. No one was quite sure what to expect from Serena, and a laborious opening round victory over Arantxa Rus didn't offer much insight. She was way too strong for Bulgarian teen, Viktorija Tomova in the second round, but the match that really announced her as a genuine contender was a third-round victory over Kristina Mladenovic, when she recovered from a first-set deficit to win 7-5 7-6. She was strong on serve, relatively fluid in her movement, decisive off the ground, and most importantly, mentally up for the challenge. 

She eased past Russian qualifier, Evgeniya Rodina in the fourth round, before surviving a stern examination from Camila Giorgi to move into the semi-finals. A confident Giorgi took the opening set from the American, the first set she had dropped all tournament, but Serena upped the ante to win 3-6 6-3 6-4, moving on to a semi-final with Julia Goerges.

Competing in her first Grand Slam semi-final, Goerges stayed with Serena in the opening exchanges, but Serena broke away from 2-2, winning four straight games to take the opening set. The second set followed a similar pattern, with Goerges competing early on in the set, before losing her way from the midway point. The only hiccup Serena encountered was getting broken while serving for the set at 5-3, but she broke back immediately, sealing the win when Goerges' attempted lob on match point drifted long. 

Can the legendary American complete one of her greatest Grand Slam triumphs by taking down Kerber on Saturday? 

“I think grass is her best surface”, Serena said of her upcoming match against Kerber. She plays so well here. She knows how to play on this court. She does it well".

"It's her second final in three years, is that right? That's wildly impressive. Believe me, I know she wants to go out there and win. So do I. I think it will be just like the last final, it will be a really good final. Hopefully it will be a good result."

Kerber is back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2016, when she made three major finals in a stunning campaign. She won the Australian Open and the US Open, made the final at Wimbledon and became No. 1 in the world. 

She failed miserably in her attempt to back that up in 2017, slipping out of the top 20 by the end of the year. However, with the pressures of such elevated status off her shoulders, she has launched a resurgence in 2018, and is back to being one of the most consistent players on the tour. 

“I'm really proud being back in the Wimbledon final after especially last year where things weren't like I was supposed expecting actually".

“Being here again, that was a goal when I start this year, you know, to playing good in the Grand Slams, and to reaching the finals again. It's a great feeling.”

A superb start to the season saw her win the Sydney title, coming through a quality field that included Lucie Safarova, Venus Williams, Dominika Cibulkova, Camila Giorgi and Ashleigh Barty for her first title since the 2016 US Open.

Kerber has reached the quarter-finals or better in ten of her 12 tournaments this season, including reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open, and the quarter finals of Roland Garros. The only tournaments where she has failed to reach the last eight were Stuttgart, where she retired hurt in the second round against Anett Kontaveit, and in her grass-court opener in Mallorca, where she was beaten by Alison Riske as she initially struggled with the swift transition from clay to grass.

However, she has gone on to compile a very good campaign on the surface, reaching the semi-finals in Eastbourne, where she fell to Caroline Wozniacki, and now advancing to a second Wimbledon final to become the only woman to reach the second week of all three Slams so far in 2018. 

Kerber has dropped just the one set all tournament, which ironically, was against American teenager, Claire Liu, who was theoretically the easiest player in her path. Kerber beat former Wimbledon finalist, Vera Zvonareva in the opening round, and subsequent wins over Liu, Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic, Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko to her into the final for the second time in her career. 

It was another competent performance from Kerber against Ostapenko, as she negated the explosive Latvian with her strong defence and clever shot placement. Ostapenko struck 30 winners, but she committed 36 unforced errors. Kerber had the healthier and more modest but highly efficient 10:7 winners-to-unforced errors ratio as she picked apart a poor Ostapenko to move into a Wimbledon final against Serena Williams. She is now the only woman to have made the second week in all three Slams of 2018.

“[When I see Serena] I see a champion, that's for sure,” Kerber said. “Serena is one of the best players in the world. We had so many great matches in the last years. To seeing her back, it's great... I know that I have to play my best, best tennis to beat her, especially on the grass, on the Centre Court, where she won so many titles here. I'm looking forward to playing against her. I mean, it's always an honor to playing against her.”

Williams leads head-to-head 6-2, and has a 2-1 lead in Grand Slam matches. Kerber will need to be at her counter-punching best to take down the American. She will look to absorb Serena's pace, and catch her out with her clever angles and ability to change directions down the line, especially on her forehand wing. 

For Serena Williams, the game plan is pretty simple. This match is essentially on her racket. She can dominate with her legendary serve, and get after Kerber's not too great deliveries. As is often the case with the seven-time champion, if she plays as well as she can, on this surface, she is practically unstoppable.

The 36-year-old has been improving all through the fortnight, and I think she will take away that record equalling 24th major title on Saturday.

Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber is live from Wimbledon on Friday, 14 July from 2:00pm local time/ BST
Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber  (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)

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Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber Wimbledon Final tennis Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Kerber stands between Serena and record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title

Serena Williams takes on Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final on Sunday. Can Williams claim 24th Grand Slam title? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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