Last time Serena Williams entered a Grand Slam final against Angelique Kerber, Williams powered her way Down Under by beating Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets, losing just four games. Then, stunning many, Williams lost to the upstart Kerber and surrendered the 22nd Grand Slam title most tennis people believed was hers for the taking.
Williams will face Kerber again for #22, this time in the Wimbledon final. Beating Williams once is hard; beating her twice has been a Herculean task on tour. (In her entire career, perhaps her closest rival, Maria Sharapova, has beaten Williams just twice in 21 tries.) This time Williams enters the finals looking even more dominant than she did Down Under, having dismantled her semifinal opponent Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0 in 48 minutes. Two ways to look at that victory: the positive is Williams comes in rested and confident. The other view is that Williams comes in virtually untested — and now must play, in Kerber, a lefthanded World No. 4 who has given her trouble. To attain the Aussie final Williams beat Radwanska, currently ranked World No. 3. Her Wimbledon final ticket was punched by Vesnina, ranked No. 50 in the world. Will Williams wish she had played a more difficult opponent? Kerber, of course, had to beat Williams’ sister Venus to get there.