Wimbledon: Serena Williams just one win from 24th grand slam

American is just five months on from maternity leave return and on brink of history

Serena Williams celebrates her win over Julia Goerges in the women’s semi-finals at Wimbledon. Photo: Neil Hall/EPA

Serena Williams celebrates her win over Julia Goerges in the women’s semi-finals at Wimbledon. Photo: Neil Hall/EPA

 

Just five months after she finished her maternity leave, and 13 matches into her comeback, Serena Williams is in the Wimbledon final. She beat Julia Görges 6-2, 6-4, in the semi-final, and will now play Angelique Kerber in the final on Saturday for the chance to win a record-breaking 24th grand slam title.

That match will be a reprise of the 2016 final, which Williams won 7-5, 6-3. Williams has now won 20 consecutive matches at Wimbledon. And while Kerber is playing ever so well, and has beaten Williams twice before, it seems likely the run will stretch to 21 before the weekend is over.

“I didn’t expect to play this well so quickly into my comeback,” Williams said courtside. “It’s not inevitable for me to be playing like this. I had multiple surgeries and nearly didn’t make it when I gave birth. I’m enjoying every moment.”

Görges, 29, wasn’t overawed so much as she was out-played. She has a mean serve, and hit more aces than anyone else on the tour last year, and a wicked forehand, which she uses to land the killing blows. She used it to take Williams to deuce, twice, when the score was 2-1. Turned out that would be as close as Görges came to a break in the set. Williams warmed to her work as the set went on. At 3-2, she had a break point, which she took after a long rally that ended when Goerges missed a forehand wide down the line.

That put Williams 4-2 up, and gave her a grip that she never let slip. Her power pushed Görges back behind the baseline, and her slice dragged her wide this way and that. At 5-2, she had three set-points on Görges’ serve, and took the first of them. Görges had played well, she only made five unforced errors in the set, but it didn’t matter. Williams had raised her game to another level altogether. It seemed Görges had blinked, twice, on her serve, and all of a sudden the first set was over.

The second set was a similar story. Again, Williams broke Goerges to go 4-2 up, this time, Görges was so desperate to try and find a way to beat her that she tried her very first drop shot of the match on break point. It didn’t work. Williams, meanwhile, cruised almost unhindered through her own service games. Until, that is, she was serving for the match. Then Görges finally broke her. Upshot was, of course, that Williams broke her right back. And that was that. – Guardian service

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