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Wimbledon 2018 semi-final: Serena Williams beats Julia Görges 6-2, 6-4 – live!

The Guardian
Thursday 12 July 2018 17:11

Angelique Kerber reaches final after stroll past OstapenkoThe Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverageFeel free to email Katy or to tweet @KatyMurrells 4.11pm BST Williams looks angry. And you don’t want to make Williams angry. 0-15. 0-30. 0-40. Three match points. And Gorges’s resistance in the previous game proves futile, when the German’s attempted lob loops long! Williams clenches her fists, commiserates with her beaten opponent, and takes in the adulation of the crowd. 4.08pm BST Second set: Williams 6-2, 5-4 Gorges* (*denotes next server)Williams is serving with new balls. As if she needs any help given the way she’s served today. But look here, 0-15, 0-30, courtesy of Williams’s second double fault. Williams comes to the net on the next point and Gorges hits a passing winner off Williams’s volley! 0-40, three break points. Williams fends off the first. And the second with her fastest serve of the match. But Gorges cracks a thunderbolt of a return on the third! Fantastisch. We’re back on serve. Well, well. 4.03pm BST Second set: *Williams 6-2, 5-3 Gorges (*denotes next server)Gorges has not been overwhelmed by the occasion of her first grand slam semi-final, the underdog has simply been outclassed. However Gorges’s story isn’t quite over yet. At 40-30, Williams rams a return into the net. Williams will have to serve this out. 4.00pm BST Second set: Williams 6-2, 5-2 Gorges* (*denotes next server)Another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it service game from Williams. She’s dropped only one point on serve in this set and stands potentially one game away from a place in her 10th Wimbledon final. 3.56pm BST Second set: *Williams 6-2, 4-2 Gorges (*denotes next server)This is the stage when Gorges dropped serve in the first set, and there’s the sense history could be repeating itself when Gorges concedes the first two points, the second with a double fault. 0-30. A fine serve lands bang on the service line, Williams lands the return, but Gorges reels off the winner. 15-30. 30-all. A great get from Gorges but Williams wallops away the winner. 30-40, break point. And Gorges’s attempted drop shot clips the net tape and agonisingly falls back on to her side of the court! Williams is in full charge. 3.50pm BST Second set: Williams 6-2, 3-2 Gorges* (*denotes next server)15-0, 30-0, 40-0, game Mrs Williams. There’s very little giving on serve at the moment. Williams has won 92% of points when her first serve has gone in. 3.49pm BST Second set: *Williams 6-2, 2-2 Gorges (*denotes next server)Williams hasn’t lost a Wimbledon semi-final since 2000 and this would be some turnaround if she was to do so now. Having said that, Gorges is refusing to roll over, and she secures another comfortable hold. 3.44pm BST Second set: Williams 6-2, 2-1 Gorges* (*denotes next server)However Williams wouldn’t be the first mother to win a grand slam; Kim Clijsters, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Margaret Court have done so previously. Meanwhile Gorges steadies herself with a straightforward hold – but Williams, determined not to be upstaged, responds with a love hold of her own.The most obvious tennis tweet in the world is one that states ‘Serena Williams, what a player.’

But seriously, Serena Williams, what a player. 6-2, 2-1. 3.41pm BST Second set: Williams 6-2, 1-0 Gorges* (*denotes next server)Another impressive hold from Williams – this time to 15. She looks so focused out there. This is perhaps her best performance of the tournament. The 2013 champion Marion Bartoli, who knows Williams well, offered an interesting insight into her friend’s mindset a couple of days ago. Bartoli said Williams is determined to win Wimbledon as a mother, to show her daughter, Olympia, how good she is, and also to prove to everyone it’s possible to have a baby and be a grand slam champion. It’s as though she’s not going to let anything – or anyone – stop her. 3.35pm BST 0-15. 0-30. 0-40. Three set points for Williams. A long rally plays out, Gorges decides she’s had enough and attempts to drill a forehand down the line, but it skids wide. From 2-all, Williams has taken four games in a row to secure the set! 3.33pm BST First set: Williams 5-2 Gorges* (*denotes next server)A few years ago, when Williams was chasing Steffi Graf’s Open era record of grand slams won, she looked rattled at times. But now she’s attempting to draw level with Margaret Court’s all-time record, she seems, well, so serene. Perhaps being a mother helps her put tennis into perspective. But she still has the focus, fight and fierce will to win. Williams charges to the hold and Gorges is staring down the barrel in this first set.Very strong start for Serena, up 5-2 on Julia Goerges. #Wimbledon

Super clean playing by both so far:

Goerges: 12 winners, 4 unforced errors.

Serena: 7 winners, 4 unforced errors. 3.28pm BST First set: *Williams 4-2 Gorges (*denotes next server)A 114mph serve but Williams manages to neutralise it and take the point. 0-15. A wonderful backhand winner on the run from Gorges, who manages to flick the ball down the line. 15-all. 30-15. 30-all. 30-40, when Williams’s forehand kicks up high to Gorges’s right wing. Gorges can’t get the ball back into court. 30-40, a second break point of the set for Williams. Williams ups the intensity with every shot of the next rally, and Gorges surrenders! Williams has the first break of the match. 3.22pm BST First set: Williams 3-2 Gorges* (*denotes next server)Gorges has more winners than Williams so far – eight compared to her opponent’s five – and there’s another for 30-15. They share the next two points for 40-30. Williams wins the game. Cue her first “COME ON” of proceedings. There’s a sense she’s urging herself into greater action. 3.19pm BST First set: *Williams 2-2 Gorges (*denotes next server)You wouldn’t know this is Gorges’s first grand slam semi-final, she’s looking fairly assured in the early stages. The most straightforward game of the match so far, as Gorges holds to 15. 3.17pm BST First set: Williams 2-1 Gorges* (*denotes next server)Gorges is asking questions of her opponent at 30-all on the Williams serve but slaps her return into the net. 40-30. Deuce, after a wobbly Williams slice. A perfect one-two punch from Williams and it’s her advantage. Williams, a little off-balance, nets. But she’s back in her stride again to bring up advantage once more. And from there she holds. Williams is thrumming somewhere between second and third gear right now; she’s yet to fully get going but still leads. 3.09pm BST First set: *Williams 1-1 Gorges (*denotes next server)Williams’s serve looked strong in that opening game: one ace and four out of four points won when her first serve landed. But Gorges is a fine server too and charges to 40-0. The German then lets herself down a little with a timid backhand into the net for 40-30. On the third game point, Gorges’s backhand is called in but Williams stops the point and challenges. She’s right. Deuce. Advantage Williams, break point. Gorges saves it with the winner. And then holds. 3.04pm BST First set: Williams 1-0 Gorges* (*denotes next server)Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs Williams will serve first. Williams is in full control of the first point, which she sets up with a strong serve out wide, and a few shots later Gorges prods long. 15-0. 15-all. Which is very quickly 40-15. Gorges gets herself to 40-30 but she goes no further. Williams holds. 2.59pm BST Williams has won all three of their previous meetings without dropping the set, including at the French Open last month. Expect short, sharp rallies between the two leading servers of women’s draw, Gorges has 44 aces to her name compared to Williams’s 39.Gorges is a stylish but streaky player. However there’s been more style than streakiness of late, with the German playing some of the best tennis of her career at the age of 29. 2.55pm BST The players step on to court to a huge standing ovation. There aren’t that many spare seats in the stands – most spectators have stayed in place after that quick victory for Kerber. Meanwhile in the Royal Box this afternoon: Bjorn Borg, Jim Courier, Billie Jean King, Stanley Tucci, Cliff Richard and Shirley Bassey, among others. Luckily there’s no sign of Donald Trump, despite him being a tennis fan. 2.52pm BST Gorges says: “It’s pretty unreal for me to get to that stage at a grand slam. It’s been obviously always a dream for every player, to be in a semi-final at Wimbledon. [Despite Williams being the favourite] I think every match starts from zero. I’m looking forward to it.” Looking forward to it? Perhaps she’s as much of a masochist as Alex Zverev. 2.51pm BST Williams, whose ranking is guaranteed to rise to at least 51 next week, says: “Well, it’s better than 183 or whatever I am. Got to keep trekking on, though. Serena Williams, 51, eh. It doesn’t have that same ring to it. The ’1’ part does, but not the ’5’. Keep going.“There’s a lot to improve on. This is only my fourth tournament back so I don’t feel pressure, I don’t feel I have to win this. I still have a long way to go to be where I was.” God help the rest of the women’s Tour when she does. 2.48pm BST So next up it’s the world No 181 against the world No 13. But this is no ordinary world No 181. Williams is the seven-times champion, going for a record-equalling 24th major title and playing in her 35th grand slam semi-final. This is Gorges’s first major semi, having suffered five consecutive first-round exits here. 2.39pm BST In the meantime, news on the doubles:Britain’s Dom Inglot is still on speaking terms with his Croatian partner Franko Skugor after last night, but they’re 6-3, 6-1, 5-4 down to the Americans Jack Sock and Mike Bryan. 2.30pm BST There’ll be a break of another 15 minutes or so before Williams v Gorges. 2.24pm BST #Wimbledon final spot booked in 67 minutes

Will we see @AngeliqueKerber lift the trophy on Saturday? pic.twitter.com/bTwiRmcHyp 2.23pm BST The final winners-unforced errors count: Ostapenko 30-35, Kerber 10-7. Kerber was just so cool, calm and controlled, and her serve helped her through too. Ostapenko really lost her focus after losing the opening set, though she came back hard in the last few games.Angelique Kerber is going to take some stopping. Shame Ostapenko could not keep the winners-errors ratio on the right side. Will it be a rematch of 2016 or an all-German final? 2.22pm BST An early report for you. We’ll have a full take from Simon Cambers soon: Related: Angelique Kerber books Wimbledon final place after stroll against Ostapenko 2.20pm BST Kerber speaks:I think it was a really tough match. I was just trying to move good and take my chances. It’s such a great feeling to be back in the final. I’m really excited. She’s always fighting until the last point. I was just trying to stay focused. It’s quite tough but I’m happy that I’m through. 2.18pm BST So Kerber is serving for the second time for a place in her second Wimbledon final. Ostapenko strikes to take the first point. The crowd erupt. They want a match, of course, but I think they also rather admire Ostapenko’s fearless game. Ostapenko has a break point at 30-40 – if she wins this they’ll be back on serve – but she misses the return. Deuce. Advantage Kerber, a second match point. Ostapenko is pushing but she implodes when she flashes a forehand into the tramlines! Kerber is through to the Wimbledon final, where she’ll face either her 2016 conqueror Serena Williams or Julia Gorges! Related: Angelique Kerber books Wimbledon final place after stroll against Ostapenko 2.13pm BST Second set: Ostapenko 3-6, 3-5 Kerber* (*denotes next server)Given Ostapenko plays with so little subtlety, it may surprise you to hear she’s a fan of ballroom dancing. “It helps a lot because you have to be very coordinated to do it. Those small steps are very useful in tennis,” she says. Never mind small steps here though – she’s going to have to take some giant ones to get herself out of trouble. A hold to 30 will help. 2.10pm BST Second set: *Ostapenko 3-6, 2-5 Kerber (*denotes next server)15-0. 30-0. 30-15. 30-all after a fantastic rally. Perhaps there’s life in Ostapenko yet. 30-40, break point, after another stinging winner. This is high-stakes tennis from Ostapenko, no less than we’d expect. But from boom to bust – as Kerber recovers from break point down to bring up match point. Ostapenko hits the ball at 1,000mph for the winner! Deuce. And Ostapenko breaks! Ostapenko has her arms in the air but it’s still a long way back from here. 2.06pm BST Second set: Ostapenko 3-6, 1-5 Kerber* (*denotes next server)Ostapenko’s winner count currently stands at 22 to Kerber’s eight. The problem is she’s also hit 29 unforced errors to her opponent’s four. The Latvian chastises herself and chucks her racket on the grass when she goes 30-40, break point down. The pair engage in a cross-court duel before Ostapenko mixes things up by going down the line. Kerber is on to it and there’s the Ostapenko error. Kerber will serve for a place in the final. 2.00pm BST Second set: *Ostapenko 3-6, 1-4 Kerber (*denotes next server)Normally you’d expect a 14-shot rally to go the way of the master defender Kerber, but Ostapenko wins this one. 0-15 on Kerber’s serve. Then 15-30. But Kerber then has Ostapenko scampering all over the court and it’s 30-all. 40-30. Game Kerber, when her slice cuts Ostapenko into pieces. 1.56pm BST Second set: Ostapenko 3-6, 1-3 Kerber* (*denotes next server)A strange second point on Ostapenko’s serve as her shot batters the baseline. Kerber gets the ball back into play but Ostapenko makes no effort to do the same. Perhaps she thought her shot was out. Not that it matters. Ostapenko goes on to hold and she at least has given Kerber something to think about in this second set. 1.55pm BST Second set: *Ostapenko 3-6, 0-3 Kerber (*denotes next server)Kerber, looking so solid now, holds to 15. Ostapenko is shaking her head. She was so furious with herself at one point during her quarter-final that she slapped her leg in anger and had to ice it. No repeat of that yet but she’s pretty angry with herself. But remember - Ostapenko did come from a set and 3-0 down against Simona Halep in the French Open final last year. This isn’t over yet ... 1.52pm BST Second set: Ostapenko 3-6, 0-2 Kerber* (*denotes next server)Kerber holds in the opening game of the second set. Ostapenko then wins the first point on her serve but concedes the next two after some solid play from Kerber. 15-30. 15-40, when Kerber again shows off her defensive skills before pulling off a lovely drop shot. Thwack. Ostapenko saves the first break point with a forehand down the line. Crack. Ostapenko goes for broke and the backhand side but her effort slams into the net. Kerber breaks and is well in control. 1.47pm BST First set to Angelique Kerber, 6-3 over Jelena Ostapenko. #Wimbledon

Counterpunching beating haymakers so far.

Winners / unforced errors:

Ostapenko: 18 / 19
Kerber: 6 / 2 1.44pm BST At 30-all, Ostapenko plants a meek forehand into the net. It’s not like her to go down without a fight. 30-40, set point to Kerber. But Ostapenko surrenders with a double fault. She appeals to Hawk-Eye but the technology doesn’t come to her rescue. So Ostapenko starts and ends the first set with a double fault. Kerber, having withstood that flurry of Ostapenko winners at the beginning of the match, has got used to her opponent’s pace and has calmly emerged to take the set. 1.40pm BST First set: *Ostapenko 3-5 Kerber (*denotes next server)From 40-0 to deuce on Kerber’s serve. A good serve from Kerber halts Ostapenko’s momentum and a swinging ace out wide from the left-hander backs up the break. Ostapenko must hold serve to keep this set going. 1.37pm BST First set: Ostapenko 3-4 Kerber* (*denotes next server)A collective Wimbledon groan – or the Wimblegroan – as an Ostapenko error brings up break point. Kerber is patient on the break point, waiting for the error from Ostapenko, which duly comes when the Latvian biffs a backhand well long. Kerber has the breakthrough. 1.32pm BST First set: *Ostapenko 3-3 Kerber (*denotes next server)Ostapenko is the one who’s had to save two break points so far but it’s Kerber who looks the more rattled. It must be so frustrating when almost every point is coming down to a winner or unforced error from your opponent; Kerber would like to have more of a say in the points herself. Having said that, Kerber does at deuce, when she nets a makeable shot. Advantage Ostapenko, her first break point of the match. Kerber clambers back to deuce. And then takes the next two points to hold.Analysis so far

Ostapenko: Protagonist
Kerber: Reader 1.27pm BST First set: Ostapenko 3-2 Kerber* (*denotes next server)A hint of danger for Ostapenko at 15-30. A one-two punch straight out of the tennis textbook gets her back on level terms at 30-all but then there’s a very real danger when she loses the next point for 30-40, break point. Deuce. Advantage Ostapenko. Game Ostapenko. Once again the Latvian gets herself out of a bit of a hole on her serve.I make it that all 13 of Ostapenko's points to 2-2 were winners. Will watch back to confirm later but you get the point 1.23pm BST First set: *Ostapenko 2-2 Kerber (*denotes next server)A controlled service game from Kerber, and the most straightforward of the match so far. 15-0, 30-0, 40-0, game, as Ostapenko blazes her return well wide. 1.21pm BST First set: Ostapenko 2-1 Kerber* (*denotes next server)Another drop shot from Ostapenko, this time off Kerber’s return – a smart play, Kerber was so far back – gets Ostapenko to 30-15. Then 40-15. The crowd gasp. They’re already blown away by Ostapenko’s power. Kerber recovers to deuce. At Ostapenko’s advantage, the court opens up for the Latvian to put away the winner, but she’s playing with such fine margins, goes for it a little too much and makes the error. Deuce. Ostapenko takes a couple of quick points to secure the game. So three holds to get things started.Safe to say one player's statistics will be *much* busier in this match.

Winners / unforced errors after three games:

Ostapenko: 12/ 8
Kerber: 2 / 0#Wimbledon 1.16pm BST First set: *Ostapenko 1-1 Kerber (*denotes next server)That first game pretty much summed Ostapenko up. Several breathtaking winners and some simple errors too, it’s all so unpredictable. In this game Ostapenko shows she’s not all about out-and-out power. A lovely drop shot gets her to 30-all. But on the next point her shot flies beyond the baseline and Kerber holds from there. 1.13pm BST First set: Ostapenko 1-0 Kerber* (*denotes next server)A start Ostapenko will want to forget quickly as the 21-year-old double faults. She thwacks away those early nerves with a thumping winner down the line. Expect several more of those today. 15-all. Which turns into 15-30. A winner from Ostapenko follows, but there’s an unforced error. 30-40, break point. Ostapenko steps into the middle of the court and bludgeons a backhand cross-court winner. Deuce. Another brutal backhand winner, this time down the line for symmetry’s sake, and it’s Ostapenko’s advantage. An ace seals the game. 1.07pm BST The one-minute warning. So just time to say this is the first meeting between the two. Both have good records on grass, this could come down to what mood Ostapenko is in. The match is on the Latvian’s racket; if she makes her shots, there may not be too much Kerber can do about it. Kerber can’t afford to be too defensive, she needs to attack Ostapenko, but also mix that up with plenty of slice to disrupt Ostapenko’s rhythm. 1.06pm BST Kerber says: “There are no favourites any more. I’m not looking left or right. I’m not looking about the others. I’m really taking care about my game, about my matches, about how I play on court.”
Ostapenko says: “At the French Open a couple weeks ago I had so much pressure. It’s now all gone. I’m just enjoying the moment. You play on a big court, in a great place, on grass, which is one of my favourite surfaces. It’s just so much fun.” 1.04pm BST Tik, tok, tikity, tok, they’re warming up. This match is an intriguing contrast in styles between the great defender Kerber and the relentless attacker Ostapenko. Kerber became the world No 1 in 2016 after winning the Australian and US Opens, along with reaching the Wimbledon final, but seemed to regard her status as a millstone round her neck rather than a milestone. The German crumbled under the pressure and expectation, and had a torrid time in 2017. 1.01pm BST As the clock strikes one, the players make their entrance on to a sunny Centre Court, Ostapenko a few steps ahead of Kerber. 12.55pm BST Of course British interest in the singles ended with Kyle Edmund’s third-round defeat by Novak Djokovic but Jamie Murray, Joe Salisbury, Dominic Inglot, Jay Clarke and Harriet Dart are playing in the doubles today, along with a number of Brits in the junior and wheelchair events. Anton Matusevich, a 17-year-old who describes his tennis idol as himself – “I didn’t really bother looking at anyone else. The game is my idol” – has been in boys’ quarter-final action already. He’s been put in his place with a 7-5, 6-1 defeat by China’s Tao Mu. 12.49pm BST Tomorrow’s order of play is already outFRIDAY'S ORDER OF PLAY (Centre Court, from 13:00 BST)

Kevin Anderson vs John Isner
Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal#Wimbledon 12.47pm BST And some pre-match viewingYou may not have seen this last night if you were watching the match that cannot be named. But Rafael Nadal’s fantastic fifth-set finale against Juan Martín del Porto was described by Andy Murray as one of the best sets of tennis he had ever seen. Here are the highlights:In case you missed it...

Highlights from Nadal and Del Potro's Centre Court epic #Wimbledonhttps://t.co/p9sS9qsuN3 12.44pm BST Some pre-match reading Related: Serena Williams prepares for catch-up with Julia Görges in Wimbledon semi Related: Roger Federer mortal after all and left to regret one that got away | Simon Cambers Related: Rafael Nadal shows his warrior spirit to beat Del Potro and reach semi-finals 12.39pm BST CENTRE COURT – SHOW COURT – 13:00 BST START
1 Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) [12] 17 vs Angelique Kerber (GER) [11] 49 12.01pm BST Hello and welcome to our coverage of women’s semi-finals day. If you’re reading this in England, just hearing the word “semi-finals” may be enough to make you wince, weep and hit the back button on your browser … but wait! Given the fact the All England Club has been doing a fine job over the past fortnight of preventing the World Cup from infiltrating Wimbledon, this may be the best place for you. Just stick your head in the sand – or more accurately the grass – and pretend last night didn’t happen. Consider this your refuge, with added Pimm’s and strawberries and cream.Not that Wimbledon has been a safe place for the women’s top seeds over the past fortnight. The pre-tournament favourite, Petra Kvitova, the defending champion, Garbiñe Muguruza, and the world No 1, Simona Halep were among the names to depart in the first week and, by Monday, the last of the top-10 seeds was out. Wimbledon had never seen anything like it. Yet for all the upsets, this is hardly a scratch semi-final line-up. Three former grand slam champions have calmly emerged from the chaos: Angelique Kerber, who is playing close to the level she was when she won the Australian and US Opens in 2016; Jelena Ostapenko, last year’s French Open champion who is yet to drop a set here; and a certain Serena Williams, who 10 months after giving birth to her daughter, stands two wins away from equalling Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slam titles. History may have eluded Roger Federer this fortnight but there’s a sense it’s not about to bypass Williams. Continue reading...

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