The final of the Ladies’ Singles at Wimbledon 2016 is set for Saturday and we have a repeat of the Australian Open title match between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber.
We didn’t get any joy in the men’s semi final between Roger Federer and Milos Raonic, but those who stayed away from backing Federer after his string of losses following five set matches in the previous round would have been relieved.
The women’s final has been won by the betting favourite on five occasions in the last nine years and Williams goes for her seventh Wimbledon singles crown on Saturday.
Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber
I said in my preview of Williams’ semi final match that she’s become very difficult to predict these days, due to the wild fluctuations in her performances and mental state in these late stage Grand Slam matches and that’s true again here.
Williams was in no mood for messing about or melting down against Elena Vesnina, with a comprehensive win over the Russian for the loss of only two games, yet she came rather close to losing to Christina McHale earlier in the tournament.
The American said after the Vesnina match: “I feel a little more relaxed and at peace than maybe I've been in the past,” and if that is the case again on Saturday we should see Williams finally draw level with Steffi Graf on 22 major singles titles.
Against Vesnina we saw the best of Serena Williams, who hit 28 winners and just seven unforced errors against an opponent who didn’t have a shocker, she was just unable to cope with the level of play coming at her from Williams.
And any repeat of that sort of performance in the final will result in a win no matter who is on the other side of the net, but the nagging doubt still lingers as to whether the ‘other’ Williams will turn up – the one that can get very nervous.
It may well be that Williams was calm because she knew that Vesnina couldn’t hurt her like Kerber can and Serena won’t have forgotten that Australian Open loss, but we must also consider how nervous Kerber is likely to be.
The German admitted to being nervous about playing Venus Williams in the semis, which doesn’t bode well for the final against a much tougher opponent, but she should be confident after beating Serena in Melbourne.
The grass court stats of Williams are pretty much the same over the last 10 matches as throughout her career, with 88.9 percent service holds and 42.2 percent breaks, which are fabulous stats, but Kerber’s aren’t bad either.
Kerber, unsurprisingly, has better grass stats over the last 10 matches than for the rest of her career on the surface, with 79.2 percent holds and 40.7 percent breaks, but if we look at the head-to-head (5-2 tp Williams) we see how much Kerber has struggled.
The German has only held her own delivery 67.4 percent of the time in all matches versus Williams and broken the American only 15.6 percent of the time, while Williams has held against Kerber 84.4 percent of the time and broken her 32.6 percent of the time.
But I expect a bit of a swingy one here, with their Australian Open clash featuring nine breaks of serve, and I can’t see this being a procession for the 1.29 favourite (she was 1.18 in Melbourne), with the 1.40 about over 18.5 total games looking a ‘sure thing’.
They’ve played only one tie break against each other in 15 sets and with breaks of serve likely the under 0.5 tie breaks at 1.27 could be another ‘sure thing’.
But I’m past the days of backing Williams at short prices and this one has the feel of a decent final about it, with three sets likely and the 3.85 about Williams coming out on top thanks to her greater firepower on this surface looks the wager.
Long shot: Back Williams to beat Kerber 2-1 at 3.85