Why It's Always a Bad Idea to Underestimate Serena Williams


The 23-time major victor can match the Australian legend's total of Slam titles on Saturday, though Williams already holds the record for most Open Era crowns won.

Williams, who is in a major final just 13 matches into a stirring comeback, said, "This is insane, I don't know how to feel".

"I just feel when I don't have much to lose, I can play free".

After hitting five aces with a serve that reached 119 miles per hour, delivering 16 winners to only seven unforced errors, and covering the court so well with speed and effort, Williams will face another German, 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber, on Saturday.

Kerber is now back in a grand slam title match for the first time since beating Karolina Pliskova in the 2016 US Open final - having started that year by stunning Serena Williams in the final of the Australian Open.

Despite being only four tournaments into her return, she has been many people's favourite for an eighth title.

Williams says the problems she faced after the birth of Olympia have left her in constant fear of new complications arising with a pulmonary embolism. "I nearly couldn't make it to my mailbox, so it's definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final".

Today, at 36 and just 10 months removed from a hard childbirth that was followed by grave health complications, she's bemused by those who expected her to reach Wimbledon's final this year, so soon after returning to competition. Victory on Saturday would increase the 36-year-old American's grand slam tally to 24, equalling the all-time record held by Margaret Court.

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But when the steely-eyed Williams imposed her iron will, the challenger was unable to reply, dropping five games straight to surrender the first set and fall behind in the second.

Williams was in control from the outset against 13th seed Gorges, who was making her Grand Slam semi-final debut.

Kerber, though, looms as a serious threat.

'Yeah, she's a fighter.

A tight tussle looked in store at 3-3 in the first set but when Ostapenko fired a forehand long to drop serve the match quickly ran away from her.

As any great does, Williams took her game to another level, adjusted to Goerges' serve, and began to dominate with strong, well-placed returns. She's playing like she played the years before where she won the big matches.

In a sense, Williams has been writing this narrative - rising up, overcoming, doing the impossible - since her father, Richard, took her and sister Venus to a dilapidated tennis court in Compton, Calif., put rackets in their hands and coached them, along with their mother, into champions. But her opponent in the final knows what it's like to beat Williams for a major title.