By Amanda Barlow

  • Serena Williams [1] def. Elena Vesnina 6-2 6-0
  • Angelique Kerber [4] v Venus Williams [8] 6-4 6-4
  • Serena Williams v Angelique Kerber – H2H: Williams leads 5-2

WIMBLEDON, UK – History beckons but for who, as Serena Williams searches for that elusive Slam No. 22 and Angelique Kerber bids to win both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the same year for the first time in 10 years.

Serena Williams [1] def. Elena Vesnina 6-2 6-0

With a doubles match on the cards for three of the four semi-finalists, the first pair took to the court – and the defending champion was all business. Two successive breaks of serve were enough to stay in control of the first set, only relinquishing a little concentration to allow Vesnina the luxury of two games

The second set started just as ominously as the first with an immediate break and hold. No matter what the Russian tried, Williams was always just a passing shot winner away from garnering sympathetic applause.

This time there would be no reprieve for Vesnina as Williams put her foot down for a 48 minute finish, and with both set for doubles – the rest would no doubt be welcome.

Angelique Kerber [4] v Venus Williams [8] 6-4 6-4

In a pattern not dissimilar to her quarter-final, Kerber (and Williams’) return games seemed to be the key with Kerber as the pair traded five straight breaks of serve.

The German was the first to hold, and with Venus yet to hang on to her own serve, the Australian Open champion opened up a 5-2 lead. However at the first time of asking, Williams struck back before finally backing it up with a hold on her fifth try.

Kerber picked her time to hold once more, to move her half way there, 6-4.

Unlike the first match there was to be no repeat of the pattern of play. With errors beginning to creep in to Williams the elder’s game, Kerber was beginning to play her part on dismantling the fairy-tale in waiting for the tournament.

Even so, the grass court veteran was not done, whipping across winners that left even one of the most speedy retrievers flat footed at the back of the court, as she got herself onto the board.

Williams is at her most dangerous if Kerber drops a ball short, into her hitting zone, showing her deftness of touch at the net to try and stay in contention.

Yet by the same token maybe that sense of timing that accompanied her elegance on grass would desert her more often than not.

As her younger sister found out earlier this year, screaming winners in the corners of the court came back, with interest, prompting the ball to find the net with far more regularity than the England football team ever could.

The match point itself deserved to be the stuff of legend sending the German into the final, and surely dismissing her success in Australia as anything but a fluke.

Williams [1] v Kerber [4] – H2H: Williams leads 5-2

On paper that head to head might look damning but in truth it comes down to this year, confidence and pressure.

At the beginning of the year, Williams struggled with inflammation of the knee at the annual Hopman Cup exhibition event, as her warm up ahead of the Australian Open.

Meanwhile Kerber started her season with a run to the Brisbane final come from a set down before losing to Victoria Azarenka in the final. Revenge would be hers a couple of weeks later, getting her first win over the Belarusian in the Melbourne quarter-final.

For Williams the pressure of #22 had been telling since her Wimbledon win last year. Losing to Roberta Vinci saw her can the end of the season. Losing to Kerber is surely the catalyst for her most serious onslaught yet on the hallowed #22.

Kerber may have joked about protecting it for Steffi Graf, but she can expect to be put under far more severe pressure.

Firstly with Williams’ serving stats alone in the semi-final (95% first serves in), Kerber will have to be pin-sharp on her returns and she will need to improve her own serve.

She can run to get every ball back, and she will need to as Williams winners were devastating today and if the defending champion is in the same kind of form as she was today, it will be an uphill battle.

This is a straight out fight between experience and pressure. Williams can deal with both, without a shadow of a doubt, and she wants this one badly. This proves that Kerber’s run to her maiden Slam was no fluke, but has she got the chops to deny Williams a second time?

Prediction: Williams in three sets.

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