The 28-year-old German, who won her first grand slam title at the Australian Open in January, was too solid and had too much energy for the 36-year-old American, whose superb run came to an end in an hour and 13 minutes on Centre Court.
Williams was appearing in her first grand slam semi-final for six years and her first semi-final here for seven, a doubly impressive achievement because she suffers with Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease that causes chronic fatigue and muscle soreness. But the No4 seed Kerber is made of strong stuff and after a shaky start from both women, she pulled away to set up a final against Serena Williams, who demolished Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0 in the first semi-final.
“It’s just amazing, to beat Venus in the semis,” said Kerber, who beat Serena in the Australian Open final. “It’s always a really tough match against her, she’s a champion, so I’m really happy about my first final in Wimbledon.”
“I knew she was playing very well at the moment so I was ready, trying to move well and go for it and everything worked. It’s just a very good feeling. I’m enjoying my tennis, I am playing the best tennis of my life and enjoying myself.”
The warning signs were there for Venus Williams when she dropped serve in the first game, too many loose errors and poor footwork allowing Kerber, in her second semi-final here, to get over any early nerves. Aggressive on returns, Williams hit back immediately and the first five games were breaks before Kerber, running everything down and making Williams play at least one extra ball, held and broke again to lead 5-2.
Williams looked tired after her efforts of the past 10 days, sighing often, shaking her head at times and breathing harder than usual after many points. She got one of the breaks back but Kerber held on to take the set and broke at the start of the second to lead 2-0.
The Williams first serve, such a weapon on her best days, lacked its usual power and Kerber took advantage, holding the break all the way through and then clinching victory with a brilliant forehand pass on the run.
Kerber’s win over Serena in Melbourne kept the American one win behind Steffi Graf’s open-era record of 22 grand slams and she will try to do the same in Saturday’s final.
“I will just try to go out with a lot of confidence, trying to play my tennis and give everything I can in the final,” Kerber said.
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