Wimbledon 2018

Kerber clobbers careless Latvian

An ecstatic Angelique Kerber after beating Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in their semi-final. The German is pleased with her form despite a disappointing season last year.
An ecstatic Angelique Kerber after beating Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in their semi-final. The German is pleased with her form despite a disappointing season last year.PHOTO: REUTERS

German benefits from Ostapenko's 36 errors as she meets Williams in repeat of 2016 final

LONDON • Angelique Kerber was thrilled to put last year's trauma behind her as she raced into her second Wimbledon final, after crushing former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in just 67 minutes yesterday.

The German took the express route to her fourth Grand Slam title match with a "blink and you'll miss it" semi-final demolition of Ostapenko on Centre Court.

Kerber, 30, hit only 10 winners but that was all it took to get the job done, as Ostapenko shot herself in the foot with 36 unforced errors.

"I was just trying to move good and take my chances. I'm so excited," she said.

"It's such a great feeling to be back in the final. Playing on Centre Court is always great."

Referencing her dismal form last year, Kerber added: "2017 is over and I'm really happy about that. We are in 2018!

"I'm really happy and proud to be in a Grand Slam final. These are the matches I was working for since I was a kid."

In the other women's semi-final yesterday, seven-time champion Serena Williams defeated Germany's 13th seed Julia Gorges 6-2, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Kerber in tomorrow's final.

Kerber did not get past the fourth round in any of the four Grand Slams last year, while she was beaten by Williams in the 2016 Wimbledon showpiece.

It has been a much better 2018 for a reinvigorated Kerber, who made the semi-finals in Melbourne and the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

Tomorrow's final will be world No. 10 Kerber's first Grand Slam final since she won the second of her two major titles at the 2016 US Open. Her first was the Australian Open that year when she beat Williams.

She is also bidding to become the first German woman to win Wimbledon since Steffi Graf in 1996.

In the men's draw, Roger Federer admitted he was shell-shocked as he struggled to come to terms with his "terrible" quarter-final exit against Kevin Anderson.

The Swiss star, bidding to win a ninth Wimbledon title, suffered one of the most stunning defeats of his career on Wednesday in a 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 reversal.

"To be honest, I didn't feel mental fatigue (during the match). Now I feel horribly fatigued and just awful," Federer, 36, said.

"As the match went on, I couldn't surprise him any more. I couldn't come up with enough good stuff for him to miss more. I think that was the key at the end."

It was Federer's earliest departure from Wimbledon since his upset second-round defeat by Sergiy Stakhovsky in 2013.

Anderson's huge serve kept the Swiss on the back foot and the towering eighth seed also fared much better in the baseline rallies.

"I was very happy that I got off to the right start in the match, was able to take control somewhat of the game. I just don't know exactly how I couldn't create more opportunities once the third set came around," Federer added.

"It's disappointing. No doubt about it. But he was solid. He got what he needed when he had to."

Anderson faces American John Isner, who reached his first Grand Slam semi-final after beating Canadian Milos Raonic 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, 6-3 in a clash of giants.

Federer's exit could pave the way for his long-time rival and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal to win a third Wimbledon crown.

The Spaniard will face three-time champion Novak Djokovic in the last four today. The Serb leads their epic head-to-head rivalry 26-25.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2018, with the headline 'Kerber clobbers careless Latvian'. Print Edition | Subscribe