Fourteen months after giving birth to her first child, Serena Williams is back in her first Grand Slam final.
Fourteen months after giving birth to her first child, Serena Williams will play her 14th match, which will just so happen to be the 2018 Wimbledon final.
For some tennis fans, they were hoping for a new era in women’s tennis. But most know, this is still Serena’s spotlight.
Does a comeback from a near-death experience during childbirth will finally be what places Serena in the GOAT debate? (We’ll save that all for another day.)
So how did we get here? From an unknown child raised in Compton to a mother in search of tying the all-time Grand Slam record?
Two words: Williams’ fight.
It’s really that simple. That’s what has always made her better than everyone else: her fight.
She fought through blood clots after giving birth to Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. She fought to get back into world-class shape. But she wasn’t satisfied with just coming back to compete. She wanted to win.
She did that in just her fourth tournament back, and now only one opponent stands in her way: Germany’s Angelique Kerber.
Kerber and Williams both won their semifinal matches in straight sets.
Kerber defeated Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 6-3. Ostapenko, who won the 2017 French Open, was making her first appearance in the Wimbledon semifinal. Maybe it was nerves, but her 19 unforced errors didn’t help keep her in the match. (Kerber had two.)
Williams overpowered Germany’s Julia Gorges, 6-2, 6-4. Gorges was making her first Grand Slam semi-final appearance.
Wimbledon Deja Vu
To better understand what’s about to go down at The All-England Club, you’ll need to refresh yourself on Wimbledon 2016.
Williams vs. Kerber. A finals showdown.
Williams won that one, 7-5, 6-3.
And while Kerber will be making her fourth Grand Slam appearance and second at Wimbledon, it’s Serena’s match to lose.
Because in true Serena fashion, she played this tournament like so many others that ended in another Grand Slam title to her name: she struggled in the early rounds, looking vulnerable and, dare we say, beatable. But it’s like as the trophy gets closer, Williams throws it into another gear and just purely dominates. Gorges didn’t even play badly in the semifinal match. It was just that her opponent is trying to tie Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam singles title record, in search of No. 34.
Grand Slam Champions to take Centre Court
The 30-year-old Kerber is a two-time Grand Slam Champion.
Williams is a 33x-time Grand Slam winner and just a few months from turning 37.
The German and the American faced off eight times before, with Williams leading the all-time matchup 6-2. Six of the meetings were in a tournament final, including the last meeting, which was that Wimbledon final.
Kerber’s last victory was the 2016 Australian Open, which she took in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. (Which if you’re not super familiar with tennis is always played before Wimbledon.)
And Kerber is having one of the best years on the WTA Tour, with a 32-12 record, a winning percentage of 73.
And just because we aren’t sure when we’ll ever get to say this again while Serena Williams is still on top of her game: the World No. 181 is guaranteed to return to the top 30 after her showing on the grass this month.
In Search of No. 34
Serena Williams won her last Grand Slam title while pregnant. If you really think we’re going to pick against her in her first Grand Slam final since childbirth, then we’re surprised you made it this far.
It’s not that we don’t think Kerber is one of the best on the WTA right now. It’s that watching “Being Serena” gave us an even better glimpse into her life. And Serena Williams strongest part of her game is not her power, but her mental game. And that’s how she’s won the previous 33.