By Pravin Char
LONDON (Reuters) – Germany’s Angelique Kerber said she felt confident about facing Serena Williams in Saturday’s Wimbledon final after beating the world number one in Australia earlier this year, and warned: I’m even more dangerous on grass.
The fourth seed gatecrashed the Williams sisters’ Wimbledon party when she overpowered Venus 6-4 6-4 in the semi-finals on Thursday, setting up the clash with Serena.
She is aiming to become the first German woman since Steffi Graf 20 years ago to lift the Wimbledon singles crown, and to confound Serena’s efforts to equal Graf’s professional era record of 22 grand slam singles titles for the second time this year.
Kerber beat Serena on a hard court in the Australian Open final in January to lift her first grand slam title and said this would stand in her in good stead for Saturday’s showdown.
“I will go out there with a lot of confidence. I will go out there like in Australia, trying to show her I’m here to win the match,” said the 28-year-old, who has yet to drop a set at Wimbledon this year.
“I’m feeling good about my movement on grass courts, I can serve a little bit better. This makes me much more dangerous than on hard.”
Kerber was just eight years old when Graf lifted her seventh and last Wimbledon singles crown, and she said it would be a dream to emulate her by winning at the weekend.
“She was always an idol for me, I have watched a lot of matches, on YouTube sometimes,” she said. “I met her few times – the last time she told me, just believe in yourself.
“I will try to be the next one to win here after Steffi.”
Kerber had the upper hand in the baseline exchanges against eighth-seeded Venus throughout a topsy-turvy first set in which there were seven breaks of serve, moving her American opponent from side to side with fearsome drives off both wings.
An increasingly weary-looking Venus wilted under the pressure and made a string of errors, surrendering the set by burying a forehand into the net.
Kerber said that wearing down her 36-year-old rival was part of her strategy.
“I knew that she had played long matches, in the first week especially. I was trying to moving her, that was the plan, to be the one to be aggressive,” she said.
The German left-hander retained her edge in the second set and weathered a clutch of Williams winners before closing out the match with a crosscourt forehand.
She said she could not wait to step out on Centre Court once again for the final against Serena.
“It will be the best feeling, the fans here are just amazing, so I will really try to play one of my best matches.”
(Reporting by Pravin Char; editing by Clare Lovell; editing by John Stonestreet)