Angelique Kerber of Germany. / AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN / IMAGE
Angelique Kerber was the first to reach the final when she defeated Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6/3; 6/3 on Centre Court. The German southpaw will face Serena Williams, who defeated Julia Goerges 6/2; 6/4 in the other semi-finals.
The ladies’ semi-final round paraded survivors of a tsunami that swept away the top 10 seeds. In the first semi-final match Kerber, the 11th seed, faced the 12th seed, Jelena Ostapenko. The thirteenth seeded Julia Goerges battled the grand old lady, 36 year-old Serena Williams who has an intimidating record of 23 Grand Slam titles and was chasing her seventh at Wimbledon.
The baby of the quartet was the 21-year old Ostapenko, who turned professional in 2012 and won the French Open title in 2017. Playing in her fourth Wimbledon, Jelena had reached the second round in 2015 and the quarter-finals in 2017. Her opponent, 30-year old Angelique Kerber, turned professional in 2003 and had won the Australian Open and the United States Open in 2016. She reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2012, the quarter-finals in 2014 and was finalist to Serena in 2016.
Ostapenko started off holding serve and had a break point on Kerber’s serve in the sixth game but could not clinch it. Kerber took her opponent’s serve to lead 4-3 and got another service break to win the set six games to three in 36 minutes. In the second set, Kerber held and secured a break to lead 2-0. When she won the third game, it looked like a one-way affair but Ostapenko struggled to win her service game to the delight of the stadium crowd. Kerber started off the fifth game dropping two points but a forehand winner leveled at 30 all an she held to lead 4-1 and another break gave her 5-1. Serving for the set and match, Kerber fenced off three break points but eventually conceded the seventh game. The eighth game saw the longest rally that ended in favour of Ostapenko.
Kerber had another opportunity to serve for the match. She lost the first point and later faced 40-40 break point but she leveled to deuce and had the match point o first advantage. A forehand shot from Ostapenko sailed out and Kerber was through to the finals.
Julia Goerges, in her 11th appearance, debuted in 2005, lost in the second round in 2008, third round in nine and 10 but dropped in the first round in 5 episodes. Julia found herself in unfamiliar territory against 36 year old Serena, who turned professional in 1995 and playing in her 18th year; semi-finals in 2000, quarters in 2001, runner-up in four and eight and winner in 2, 3,9, 10, 12, 15, 16.
Serena won the first game of the match on her serve and games proceeded with the server. In the sixth game, Goerges exchanged points with Serena and faced 30-40 then conceded the game. After dropping the first point on serve Serena powered to win the seventh game for 5-2. Goerges was broken in the eighth game and Serena had the first set 6-2 after 34 minutes. The first five games of the second set went with serve until Goerges missed an ambitious drop shot at break point in the sixth game. Serena extended the lead to 5-2 without losing a point on her serve but her opponent served brilliantly to hold the eighth game. Serving for the match, Serena hit a double fault to go down 0-30 and faced three break points, saved two but lost the game for 5-4. Serving to stay in the match, however, Goerges lost the first point on serve and did not recover before conceding the game for the match after 1 hour and 10 minutes.