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

Heather Diaz
July 13, 2018

"Again, I've said it all week, this is only my fourth tournament back". I just feel like when I don't have anything to lose, I can just play so free. That's what I'm doing.

That's not the case.

Goerges had come into her first Grand Slam semi-final having belted more winners (199), more aces (44) and more unreturned serves (113) than anyone else in the women's draw but those statistics counted for little when she came up against an opponent who is in hot pursuit of a record-equaling 24th major. Williams won that encounter 7-5, 6-3, and leads the head-to-head 6-2, including 2-1 at Slams. She was not going to dictate or control much. Instead, Kerber employed spectacular defense and solid, steady play, while letting Ostapenko determine the outcome of almost every point. In Thursday's other semifinal, Kerber, the No. 11 seed, dominated No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3.

"It is a completely new match", said Kerber, who failed to make a Grand Slam quarterfinal in 2017, won zero tournaments, fell from No. 1 to 21 and changed coaches.

Seeded 25th, the 36-year-old cruised through the opening set with consummate ease and conceded just two games as the German struggled from the outset.

Responding to a question about her place in the Wimbledon hierarchy, the 23-time major victor said: "If there was a Wimbledon royalty, I would like to believe I would be Wimbledon royalty because I've done pretty well here in the past".

Torres says joining Japan's Sagan Tosu
Sagan Tosu president Minoru Takehara was present at the announcement, posing with Torres as he held the No. 9 shirt he he will wear next season.

For 29-year-old Goerges, Thursday's outing was not completely a lost cause because despite the mauling, she had finally made it to a semi-final at one of the four majors - albeit on her 42nd attempt.

There were no drawn-out points in the early going, no lengthy baseline exchanges, essentially because Ostapenko wouldn't allow it. Though she was still only 183rd in the world headed into the fortnight, the All England Cub gave the seven-time Wimbledon singles champion the 25th seed-prompting applause from those who saw it as a significant step for female athletes and some grumbles from fellow players who simply thought it unfair to those who'd been active on the tour. She's coming back and for me also I'm coming back from 2017.

Eventually, Kerber's style ruled the day.

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.

It took Kerber two tries to serve out the victory, getting broken to 5-2.

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