Saturday, July 14, 2018

2018 WIMBLEDON: Women's Final Preview (and Semifinals Review)

Angelique Kerber (GER) [11] vs Serena Williams (USA) [25] 

Here are my predictions for the women's final at the Wimbledon Championships for 2018. This year I correctly predicted 2 of 4 men's quarterfinals, correctly predicted 4 of 4 women's quarterfinals, and 2 of 2 women's semifinals. Last year I incorrectly predicted Venus Williams would defeat Garbine Muguruza. 


 Angelique Kerber (GER) [11] dJelena Ostapenko (LAT) [12] 6-3 6-3. This was a much more complicated match than is reflected by the score. The result was ultimately decided by Ostapenko's refusal to stop aiming for the lines and making far too many errors (in addition to blasting dozens of winners). Basically, Kerber's defense was more effective than Ostapenko's offense. However, Kerber was up 5-1 in the second set and started making errors, Ostapenko stopped missing and suddenly things got complicated when serving for the match in the 9th game, but ultimately she held and won the match.

 Serena Williams (USA) [25] d. Julia Goerges (GER) [13] 6-2 6-4This was the match that demonstrated to most observers that Serena is almost back to the level she was at before she left the tour to have a child. Although she lost as many games as Kerber did in her match, the result of this one never really seemed in doubt. In other words, the result of this match was not as close as the score indicates. Goerges acquitted herself well and did not seem negatively affected by the occasion of playing in her first major semifinal. The main reason she lost was because Serena was simply the better player that day.


This match-up is a reprise of the 2016 Wimbledon final which was won be Serena after the two had met at the Australian Open where Kerber had stunned Serena to win in three sets. This is Serena's 30th major final and she has a superlative 23-6 record. She has only lost major finals to 5 people, and only her sister Venus Williams has done it twice (2001 US Open, 2008 Wimbledon). The others are Maria Sharapova (2004 Wimbledon), Sam Stosur ( 2011 US Open), Angelique Kerber (2016 Australian Open), and Garbine Muguruza (2016 French Open). The two have played 8 times on tour and Kerber has won twice (2012 Cincinnati Open and 2016 Australian Open). Kerber at least has had the experience of beating Serena in a final so she knows its possible, Serena is also very aware of this fact and has great respect for the German's counterpunching skills. 

So, it is possible that Serena could lose this match, but it is unlikely. If she does win, it will be an amazing achievement to come back and win a major title after more than a year's absence from tennis, having a baby and experiencing life-threatening consequences. With 24 major titles, Serena will have as many major titles as anyone who has ever played tennis and will most likely go on to win more to cement her status as the Greatest of all Time. 

MadProfessah's pick: Serena.

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