After an eventful fortnight at the All-England Club, the ladies’ final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber will see a bit of recent history — as the two are the first pair to contest more than one major final in a season since Amelie Mauresmo and Justine Henin also played for the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006.
Will Kerber pull a Mauresmo and go 2-0 for two titles or will Williams break her recent Grand Slam trend and continue her quest for all-time history by tying Steffi Graf with No. 22? The TTI crew settled in to discuss:
Do I feel like a bit of a fool? Maybe. After four consecutive Grand Slams of picking Williams as a winner, I decided to change things up and went with a Madison Keys vs. Petra Kvitova final a fortnight ago.
That didn’t happen — but still, ahem, credit to myself.
Instead, we’re being treated to a rematch of the Australian Open final of Williams against Kerber. I know a lot of people have been incredibly impressed with the top seed over the past few days — and rightly so. The American played some of her best tennis in her semifinals against Elena Vesnina but Kerber’s looked in pretty great shape, too.
While I expect Williams’ form to dip just a little in the final, I still think the 34-year-old is coming in with too much momentum. I’ll go with the World No. 1 to capture her 22nd major title, getting her revenge for the loss in Melbourne.
René’s Pick: Williams in three sets
Kerber accomplished the impossible in Australia by not only defeating Williams, but doing so by quelling what seemed to be an inevitable comeback after dropping the second set. Do I expect her to accomplish the same at Wimbledon? No, but I don’t think she should be written off just because the World No. 1’s serve gets a boost in grass.
Kerber moves better than anyone on the slippery surface and has the shotmaking to throw off Williams, who hasn’t faced anyone within the Top 20 in her six matches at SW19.
That being said, Williams is on a mission and has been next to perfect in these latter stages of the tournament. To (semi-)quote Andy Murray, there’s no way she’s losing this match.
Jeff’s Pick: Williams in three sets
Back in January, when these two met in the final Down Under, the German used her sound combination of offense and defense to stun arguably the greatest-ever to capture her first major. Six months later, on a surface that has become increasingly slow, the ability to defend has become invaluable.
Kerber played a brilliant match point in her semifinal win over Venus Williams and I think she’ll be able to use her multitude of offensive and defensive weapons to stifle the World No. 1, who has been fairly dominant outside of her second round match with Christina McHale.
Both have a lot on the line, and I think Williams will come out and play an overly tight match, allowing Kerber to seize the initiative — and the win.
Nick’s Pick: Kerber in three sets
Okay, so I picked Williams in two sets when these two played in the Australian Open final earlier this year, and I was very wrong…so I’ll go with the World No. 1 in three sets this time around.
She’s been in devastating form throughout the fortnight and certainly looks ready to snatch her 22nd Grand Slam title. The only problem: similar things could’ve been (and were) said before the Australian Open and French Open finals, and we all know how they turned out.
Kerber has been steady all tournament, and will probably play well as she so often does in big matches — better than Germany did against France yesterday (sorry, René) — that’s for sure. Despite that, I already picked against Williams in a major final once this year, and doing it again seems foolish.
Sam’s Pick: Williams in three tight sets
Overall, I think this final is pretty fitting — the last two players standing aren’t always the ones who are the most dominant throughout the fortnight, but these two certainly were. Combined, they dropped just one set to get to this point — with Williams losing that opener to McHale in the second round — but Kerber’s Houdini act to win a first set tiebreak 13-11 against compatriot Carina Witthoeft in the third round was also impressive.
While most would think the surface provides an enormous edge for the World No. 1 in her quest to win No. 22, but Kerber’s ability to craft skidding angles from anywhere on the court make her no grass court slouch. All seven of the pair’s previous meetings have come on hard courts, so that too provides an interesting wrinkle in this championship meeting.
To me, there’s been a different aura about Williams at this Wimbledon than what we’ve seen all year — almost as if it’s time for her make (more) history at the most hallowed event in tennis. Because of that feeling, I think we’ll get something akin to the 2012 Wimbledon final — where Agnieszka Radwanska snuck a tight middle set when the American got tight, but that was sandwiched between two straight-forward sets.
It’ll be a fun one, regardless.
Vika’s Pick: Williams in three sets
Who is your pick to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish? Sound off in the comments!