Wimbledon Day 14 Preview: The Ladies’ Championship Final - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 14 Preview: The Ladies’ Championship Final

Serena Williams goes for Major singles title #24, but a familiar and challenging foe stands in her way.

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Serena Williams (zimbio.com)

But before the women take to the court, we’ll see the resumption of the second gentlemen’s semifinal.  Djokovic leads Nadal two-sets-to-one, in a match that was suspended on Friday due to Wimbledon’s 11:00pm curfew.  The men will resume play at 1:00pm local time, and the women will follow not before 2:00pm. With the gentlemen’s and ladies’ doubles finals also to be played, it’s going to be one of the more eventful Day 12’s in the history of The Championships.

Serena Williams vs. Angelique Kerber

Just last September, Serena Williams was fighting for her life due to serious medical issues that arose from giving birth to her first child.  Now for the tenth time in her over two-decade career, she’ll walk onto Centre Court to play for the Venus Rosewater Dish. Serena is 7-2 in the ladies’ final at Wimbledon, and 23-6 overall in singles final at Majors.  Serena is on a 20-match winning streak at SW19, having not lost since 2014 when Alize Cornet upset her in the third round. A win today would tie her with Margaret Court for the most Major singles titles, though of course over half of Court’s tally came prior to the open era.  Coming into this tournament, Serena was admittedly less than 100%, as the pec injury she suffered in Paris prevented her from serving at full speed in practice. But Serena has exhibited no ill effects of that injury through six round, as her serve has been extremely effective.  She’s been broken only once in each of her last three matches.

Angelique Kerber is into her second Wimbledon final, and fourth Major final.  She is one of only five women to defeat Serena in a Major singles final, which she did at the 2016 Australian Open.  That was part of a career-year for Kerber, who won her only two Major titles that year. 2016 also saw Kerber win a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, and she was the runner-up at that year’s WTA Finals.  She would finish the year as world number one, though her 2017 season was much different. Last year she went just 29-24, with no titles. But 2018 has featured a resurgent Kerber, who already has 38 wins on the year, and has made the quarterfinals or better at all three Majors.

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Both players have dropped only one set heading into this Championship match, and have improved in form as the tournament has progressed.  As Courtney Nguyen highlighted on Twitter, Serena’s unforced error count has consistently improved round-by-round. Most notably, she made just nine errors in her quarterfinal, and seven in her semifinal.  Meanwhile Kerber has averaged just 11 unforced errors over her last four matches. And while her serve does not get near the speed of Serena’s, its placement has been superb, as was her 77% first serve percentage in her semifinal against Jelena Ostapenko.

This of course is a rematch from the Wimbledon final of two years, in which Serena avenged her loss to Kerber in Melbourne from earlier that year.  Serena leads their head-to-head 6-2, and has won five of their last six meetings. The angles generated by Kerber will move Serena around the court in different ways than her previous opponents, though Williams should be fully prepared for that considering how many times they’ve played.  And while Serena isn’t quite at her competitive best in just the fourth tournament of her comeback, she’ll need to be much less than her best for Kerber to have a decent shot. But if Williams is ever ripe for an upset in a Major final, it’s now. Will Serena be at all overwhelmed by the weight of the occasion, as she goes for 24th Major?  Playing for such a milestone has gotten to her in the past, when she was upset by Roberta Vinci in the 2015 US Open semifinals while going for the calendar year Grand Slam.  Also keep in mind how kind the draw has been to Serena. Kerber is by far the most accomplished opponent she’s met during this fortnight, and she has beaten Serena before in a Major final.  Kerber definitely has a fighting chance, but if the past two decades of tennis have taught us anything, it’s this: bet against Serena Williams at your own peril.

 

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Andy Murray Makes Retirement Hint After 500th Hard Court Win In Dubai

Andy Murray won his 500th hard court match in Dubai, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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Andy Murray further hinted at retirement after securing a 500th hard court win of his career in Dubai.

The former world number one picked up his second win of the year with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov.

In typical Andy Murray fashion, the Brit came back from a set down to defeat the out-of-sorts Canadian as he progressed to the second round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVj537F-wQ

The win means Murray now has 500 career wins on a hard court and that is an achievement the world number 67 is proud of, “It’s not bad,” Murray told the ATP website as he sits fifth on the all-time list of hard court wins.

“Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

However those post-match comments weren’t the most shocking ones as Murray once again hinted at retirement this season.

The Brit has made subtle remarks that this year may be his last one but Murray’s comments today suggests that he may have already made his decision, “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” Murray was quoted by ESPN as saying.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh.”

If the end is near for Murray than the Brit will look to end his career on a high for the next few months.

Before thinking about retirement Murray will look to go further in Dubai when he takes on either Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the second round.

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Perspective And Fatigue: The Two Sides Of Iga Swiatek’s Dubai Defeat

Iga Swiatek spoke about perspective and fatigue after her semi-final exit in Dubai.

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Iga Swiatek showed two sides to her defeat in Dubai as the world number one surprisingly failed to win the title despite being the favourite in the semi-finals.

Heading into her semi-final in Dubai, Swiatek was heavy favourite to win her second consecutive WTA title after claiming the title in Doha the week before.

However Swiatek was unsuccessful in her bid to reach the final as she lost to Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 6-4.

It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for Swiatek who missed a golden opportunity to establish even more dominance ahead of Indian Wells.

As all champions do Swiatek offered perspective to her defeat as she looks ahead to the rest of the season, “I mean, I’m angry but on the other hand, there aren’t many players that actually survive these kinds of tournaments so I just kind of have to let it go and accept it,” Swiatek was quoted by Tennis Majors.

There was not only perspective offered but also fatigue as expectations and pressure can force simple mistakes from the best players in the world.

The world number one acknowledged Kalinskaya’s performance but did admit her own performance contributed to the defeat, “Today I would say, I mean she [Kalinskaya] played well and for sure she deserves to be in the final, but I feel like it was more about me and my level,” Swiatek told Tennis Majors.

“I wanted to be focused on myself and I wasn’t really able to implement any tactics that I had. Usually, when I tell myself what to do, I can improve my game but today I was so out of power and tired that I just couldn’t. Day by day, it was a little bit worse.”

Swiatek will hope to re-energize herself ahead of the sunshine double in America.

Last year Swiatek lost to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals at Indian Wells before withdrawing from Miami.

The Pole will look to improve last year’s performance when she plays Indian Wells, which starts on the 6th of March.

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‘Speechless’ Mensik Reaches Maiden ATP Final In Doha

Jakub Mensik is into his first ATP final in Doha.

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Jakub Mensik admitted he was left speechless after reaching his first ATP final in Doha.

The 18 year-old continued his remarkable week with a 6-4 1-6 6-3 semi-final victory over Gael Monfils.

The Czech Republican produced clinical tennis as he beat the 2018 champion to reach his maiden ATP final.

After the match Mensik admitted he was left ‘speechless’ and spoke about the influence Monfils had on his career, “It is amazing. Hopefully not the last one [final]. Incredible week so far,” Mensik told the ATP website.

“Today again with Gael, he played unbelievable. I know it is tough to play against him, especially with his good movement. For me every point I have to play my best game.

“I have to say this performance was one of the best in my entire life. I am so glad I reached this level in the semis, so hopefully tomorrow I play like this. An amazing feeling with my first ATP final. I am speechless.

“I told him when I was young I watched him a lot on the TV. One of the biggest showman on court. He is a great guy, so hopefully in the future we will meet once again. The rallies were so fun with him.”

Mensik has so far beaten three former champions this week as he also defeated Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev this week.

Now Mensik will aim to win his first ATP title as he takes on Karen Khachanov in Saturday’s final.

Should Mensik win the title he could climb to 75 in the world as he started the week at 116 in the world.

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