Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Sports

No all-Williams final, but still one of note

RECOMMENDED READING


LONDON — Instead of the ninth all-Williams final at a Grand Slam tournament, a rematch of another sort will be held to determine the title at Wimbledon.

As Serena Williams again stands one win from a record-tying 22nd major title, she needs to beat a woman who already stopped her once this year in that pursuit, Angelique Kerber.

After the top-seeded Williams needed all of 48 minutes to overwhelm unseeded Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0, sister Venus, seeded eighth, lost to fourth-seeded Kerber 6-4, 6-4 in Thursday's second semifinal.

Since winning her sixth Wimbledon trophy a year ago to raise her career major title count to 21, Serena has come close to pulling even with Steffi Graf at 22, the most in the Open era, which began in 1968 (Margaret Court's all-time mark is 24). But she was surprisingly beaten by Roberta Vinci in the U.S. Open semifinals in September, then by Kerber in the Australian Open final in January, and by Garbine Muguruza in the French Open final last month.

Reaching the final at each of a year's first three major tournaments might sound good to other players. Not to this one.

"For anyone else in this whole planet, it would be a wonderful accomplishment," Serena said. "For me, it's about, obviously, holding the trophy and winning, which would make it a better accomplishment for me. … But I think that's what makes me different. That's what makes me Serena."

When asked what she makes of it when others talk about her as one of history's greatest female athletes, this was the reply: "I prefer … one of the greatest 'athletes' of all time."

Her case will be even stronger if she can do what she couldn't in Australia: solve Kerber's left-handed game.

"I know," Kerber said, "she will go out and try everything to beat me right now."

That Australian Open victory gave Kerber her first major title in her first major final. She insisted Thursday that she is more relaxed and more confident on the court because of that big moment. She didn't necessarily look that way at the outset against Venus, who at 36 was the oldest major semifinalist since Martina Navratilova was 37 at Wimbledon in 1994.

Venus, a five-time Wimbledon champion, hadn't been to the semis since she was the runner­up to Serena seven years ago.

Against Kerber, Venus was broken the first four times she served. She never recovered.

"A very shaky match from her," said Venus' coach, David Witt. "She was fighting hard, but she was frustrated. I could tell. Her concentration was up and down. The focus was up and down. That made her game up and down."

Perhaps the accumulated court time during the past two weeks simply took a toll on Venus, who revealed in 2011 that she has Sjongren's syndrome, which can cause fatigue and joint pain. She was a half-step slow to some balls, was breathing heavily after longer points and wound up with 21 unforced errors, 10 more than Kerber.

"I was trying to (move) her, as well," Kerber said. "That was the plan."

Serena's match resembled a training session for her, except she probably gets more of a workout when she practices.

"I couldn't do anything today," said Vesnina, a two-time Wimbledon runnerup in doubles who later Thursday played in the quarterfinals of that event and lost to Serena a second time. The Williams-Williams pairing beat Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-2.

That means Venus still has a chance to leave Wimbledon with a trophy, just like her sister.

Comments
Flames ride hot Gaudreau, beat Capitals

Flames ride hot Gaudreau, beat Capitals

WASHINGTON — Johnny Gaudreau would rather talk about anything other than his offensive production. He’s just making it impossible to avoid. Gaudreau had a goal and an assist to extend his career-best point streak to 10 games and lead the Flames to a ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Cavs roll over Pistons, close in on Central lead

Cavs roll over Pistons, close in on Central lead

DETROIT — An emphatic win over a first-place opponent had LeBron James and the Cavaliers talking confidently again. "We haven’t had a win like that in a very long time," James said. "That’s what happens when we don’t let up." James scored 16 of his 1...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingWelterweights: Alexander vs. Castillo7:30 p.m.FS1College basketballMaui Invitational semifinal1:30 p.m.ESPNLegends Classic third-place game3:30 p.m.ESPNUMaui Invitational consolation game4 p.m.ESPN2Legends Classic final6 p.m.ESPN2George Ma...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Florida A&M football coach Alex Wood resigns

TALLAHASSEE — Alex Wood resigned as Florida A&M football coach Monday, two days after the Rattlers completed their season. Athletic director Milton Overton Jr. said offensive line coach Edwin Pata, a former FSU tight end, will serve as interim coach....
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

TAMPA — RB Doug Martin had just 38 yards on 19 carries in Sunday’s win against the Dolphins, but coach Dirk Koetter said his team’s struggles running the ball shouldn’t go squarely on his running back."In my opinion, he is not the reason we’re not mo...
Updated: 8 hours ago
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Nick Ferrini and Kellyn Trowse

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Nick Ferrini and Kellyn Trowse

HomeTeam Hot Shots Nick Ferrini, MitchellOn Monday, Ferrini embarked on a five-day cruise with 30 family members. "Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, you name it," he said. Destinations during the trip include Key West, The Bahamas and a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

GAINESVILLE — At last, there’s some actual smoke to the Chip Kelly-Florida rumors.The Gators sent a group — including president Kent Fuchs and athletic director Scott Stricklin — to New Hampshire on Sunday to talk with the former Oregon coach about U...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Reeling Broncos fire offensive coordinator

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Monday and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave. Klint Kubiak will take over as QBs coach while Musgrave calls plays for the final six weeks of a soured season tha...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Sports in brief

Sports in brief

OBITUARYnovotna, known for endearing embrace, dies at 49PRAGUE — Jana Novotna, a tennis Hall of Famer who sobbed on the shoulder of a member of the British royal family after a heartbreaking loss in a Wimbledon final, died Sunday at the age of 49. Th...
Updated: 8 hours ago