IT’S Ladies Final day at Wimbledon and our tennis man Mark Stinchcombe (@markstinchcombe) shares his thoughts and best bets.
Serena Williams v Angelique Kerber | Saturday 14:00 | BBC One
Serena Williams enter Saturday’s final in a re-match of the Australian Open looking to tie Steffi Graf’s record of 22 grand slam titles. History has weighed heavily in Serena’s quest to equal the German. What were once uncharacteristic performances in the latter stages of tournaments have become commonplace.
She had the perfect opportunity at the US Open last summer with only Italian’s Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta standing in her way but she fluffed her lines in the semi against the slice of the 32 year-old veteran when 1/25 despite taking the 1st set 6-2.
She took the rest of the year off then almost just to get over the shock and disappointment. In Australia at the beginning of the year she cruised to the final but then seemed to choke once again hitting 46 unforced errors in a 6-4 3-6 6-4 defeat to today’s opponent Kerber when 1/7.
In Indian Wells it was a similar story, with 33 unforced errors against Azarenka in a 6-4 6-4 loss as a 4/11 shot. Her 7-5 6-4 defeat to Garbine Muguruza at the French last month can someway be attributed to injury but a losing streak in finals is not a good trait to have begun.
She goes into the final as the 3/10 favourite and based on the above and the way both have performed in the tournament, that looks about right. Serena’s serve has been impeccable, firing down 61 aces and winning the most points on serve in the competition with 81% (184 of 226).
Kerber meanwhile has only registered 11 aces in her six matches and won just 35% of points on 2nd serve while being broken a combined 11 times in her matches against Venus Williams and Simona Halep.
It will be a tough ask to stop the American attacking her 2nd serve, and she’ll have to employ her leftie slider to good effect. It points to Serena -4.5 games at 10/11 but she’s just too unpredictable on the big occasion.
She normally smashes Anastasia Pavlyunchenkova for example, but won just 6-4 6-4 in the quarters and despite Kerber’s serving stats she’s yet to drop a set.. Angelique has won two of their seven matches, though none on grass, but it’s clear that on her day she’s capable of giving Serena a game, especially if Williams’ nerves play a part.
She’s beaten Serena on the fast courts of Cincinnati before and with her being just Evens to take a set, the value looks to be chancing the American coming through in three at 3/1.
Serena Williams v Angelique Kerber – Serena Williams to win 2-1 (3/1 Ladbrokes)