Angelique Kerber shocked the Centre Court after she stunned 23-time Major champion Serena Williams to claim her third Grand Slam title after a relatively straightforward 6-3, 6-3 win in just 65 minutes of play in the final of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. Kerber put up an extremely clean performance, hitting 11 winners to just five unforced errors while Williams was certainly not playing her best tennis, misfiring 24 times alongside 23 winners.
Overwhelmed by the unforced errors and nerves, Williams was broken four times throughout the encounter and Kerber concluded the incredible fortnight with an unreturnable serve, sealing her return into the top-four of the rankings after a tough 2017 which saw her fall out of the top-20 and is now just a Roland Garros title away from achieving the Career Grand Slam. Whereas, the 23-time Major champion will be ranked inside the top-30 after the amazing fortnight, with this being just the fourth tournament of her comeback.
Kerber stuns Williams to take the opening set
Williams experienced a slow start despite having a 30-0 lead in the opening game, misfiring four consecutive unforced errors to gift the first breakthrough to Kerber, who grabbed the opening break within a split second. A solid service hold for the German followed, and the former world number showed no signs of nerves as her baseline game was keeping Williams’ authority at check constantly, forcing the American to stay at the baseline. A quick 2-0 advantage ensued, but Williams managed to find her footing immediately after.
Finding her groove, the 25th seed closed out a confidence-boosting service hold with a backhand winner, moments after she was committing successive backhand errors. However, this time a slew of unforced errors coming from Kerber saw Williams claiming the quick break back, levelling the scores at 2-2. It was three games on the trot for the American as she earned a comfortable hold, with the help of two aces, one of which set the record of being the fastest serve in the women’s tournament after being recorded at 125 mph.
Unexpectedly, just when she got back into contention, Williams got into trouble once more. Kerber regained her composure in style, firing winners after winners on her serve before rattling off nine of the next 12 points to regain the lead, with the American aiding her with countless errors. Kerber held her nerves and consolidated the break for a commanding 5-3 lead, forcing Williams to serve and stay in the set.
Serving to stay in the first set at 3-5 down, Williams was clearly affected by the amount of pressure being weighed on her. She made two easy errors to start the game with, and they ultimately proved costly as she sent yet another backhand long, her 14th error of the set, to gift Kerber the first set 6-3 after just a mere 31 minutes of play. Williams was struggling on her serve, winning just 1/7 of her second service points. It was an error-strewn performance from the former champion but credits belonged to Kerber, who put in just three errors and broke serve thrice to earn the advantage.
Kerber seals the huge upset
Kerber continued to ride on her momentum and confidence as she strolled to hold her serve in the first game of the second set, asserting her authority across the court now. The 23-time Major champion found herself in some deep trouble but came up with some impressive net play and powerful groundstrokes to get on board. Getting herself fired up, Williams looked to break serve and earn the lead for the first time in the match but failed to take her chances as she started to misfire once more.
It was five consecutive service holds to start the second set with, though Kerber suffered a huge scare when she lost a 40-0 lead but fortunately for her, Williams’ inconsistent backhands today cost her the golden opportunity to break. Kerber then gained the confidence she needed, firing a stunning forehand down-the-line winner for the break.
Within a blink of an eye, the German consolidated the break for a formidable 5-2 lead in the second set, placing herself just one game away from the win. Williams’ solid serves finally returned just as she served to stay in the match, although it abandoned her throughout the majority of the match.
This forced Kerber to serve for her third Major title, and Williams astonishingly missed an open-court swing volley, allowing the former world number one to take a 30-0 lead, being just two points away from the huge win. However, it was all over when the American made yet another error on the return, allowing Kerber to seal her third Major trophy after just an hour and five-minutes of play.