The Wimbledon 2018 final will be Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber's ninth meeting, and a rematch of the Wimbledon 2016 final. Williams won that encounter 7-5, 6-3, and leads the head-to-head 6-2, including 2-1 at Slams. Kerber's victories came in the Cincinnati quarterfinals in 2012 and in the 2016 Australian Open final, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 - the only match the pair have played that has gone to a deciding set. They first faced each other over a decade ago, in the first round of the 2007 US Open, when Williams defeated a 19-year-old Kerber 6-3, 7-5.
Serena Williams will compete in an astounding 30th Grand Slam final on Saturday - her 10th at Wimbledon - and will match Margaret Court's all-time Slam title record of 24 with a win. Williams has lost just two Wimbledon finals: to Maria Sharapova in 2004 and Venus Williams in 2008. In her seven victorious finals at The Championships, she has dropped just two sets: to Venus Williams in 2003 and to Agnieszka Radwanska in 2012.
Serena Williams will contest a Grand Slam final for the 12th successive year. She is the second woman to accomplish this in the Open Era following Chris Evert, who played in a major final for 14 straight years between 1973 and 1986.
Having fallen from a year-end ranking of World No.1 in 2016 out of the Top 20 in 2017, Angelique Kerber has had a resurgence this year, compiling a 38-10 Tour-level record in 2018 and reaching at least the quarterfinals in 10 of her 12 tournaments (the exceptions being a second-round retirement in Stuttgart to Anett Kontaveit and a first-round loss in Mallorca to Alison Riske).
Serena Williams is bidding to become the fourth mother to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era, following Margaret Court (Australian Open, Roland Garros and US Open 1973), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (Wimbledon 1980) and Kim Clijsters (US Open 2009, 2010, Australian Open 2011).
This year's final is the first repeat of a previous Wimbledon final since 2009, when Serena Williams faced Venus Williams for the fourth time in SW19, winning 7-6(3), 6-2. It is also just the sixth Grand Slam final this decade to be contested between multiple Slam champions; the previous five were all won by Serena Williams, who defeated Justine Henin at the 2010 Australian Open, Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros 2013, Victoria Azarenka at the 2013 US Open, Sharapova once again at the 2015 Australian Open and Venus Williams at the 2017 Australian Open.
30-year-old Angelique Kerber and 36-year-old Serena Williams will play just the second Wimbledon final of the Open Era between thirtysomethings, following 31-year-old Virginia Wade's triumph over 32-year-old Betty Stove in 1977. If Williams wins, she will break her own record, set at the 2017 Australian Open, of the oldest Slam champion of the Open Era.
World No.181 Serena Williams is the lowest-ranked major finalist since the inception of computer rankings - aside from Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, unranked and also in the early stages of comebacks when they reached the 2009 US Open and 2010 Australian Open finals respectively. Under the current ranking system, which no longer requires a player to have three tournaments on her record if she has earned more than 10 points at one, both Belgians would have had rankings just slightly below Williams - Henin at No.188 and Clijsters at No.189.
Serena Williams is guaranteed to return to the Top 30 at No.28 after Wimbledon, and will be ranked No.19 with a title. Angelique Kerber will rise to at least No.7, and will return to No.4 if she wins the trophy.
Angelique Kerber is bidding for her third Grand Slam title. Three players in the Open Era have previously won their third major at Wimbledon: Ann Jones in 1969, Virginia Wade in 1977 - and Serena Williams in 2002.
Serena Williams has struck 134 winners so far in the tournament to 91 unforced errors - with the latter number decreasing round by round ever since the third round. Williams's 44 aces put her in second place for ace total, behind Julia Goerges' 47. Angelique Kerber, meanwhile, has hit 131 winners in total to 101 unforced errors, plus 15 aces. Both players have dropped one set, each to an unseeded opponent: Kerber to qualifier Claire Liu in the second round 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, Williams to Camila Giorgi in the quarterfinals 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
— Katerina Siniakova (@K_Siniakova) July 14, 2018
Départ à Gstaad en ce jour de fête nationale ! Bonne fête à tous mes compatriotes et surtout.... Allez les bleus !!!! 🇫🇷🇫🇷🇫🇷
Travel day to Gstaad on this french national day but most of all.... Ready for tomorrow 💪🇫🇷 !!! #WorldCupFinal #AllezLaFrance #FiersDetrebleus pic.twitter.com/DaBCHxk7j7
— Alize Cornet (@alizecornet) July 14, 2018
— CoCo Vandeweghe (@CoCoVandey) July 12, 2018
Did Kerber miss a ball in that match?
— Shelby Rogers (@Shelby_Rogers_) July 12, 2018
— Angelique Kerber (@AngeliqueKerber) July 12, 2018
Serena Williams's subtle elevations and clarity of game are reminiscent of old-school grass-court tennis, writes Steve Tignor for Tennis.com.
Angelique Kerber was "back to her resilient best" in her semifinal win over Jelena Ostapenko, writes Simon Cambers for The Guardian.
The German's best chance of gaining revenge for the 2016 final defeat is through her serve, says Nick Bollettieri in The Independent.
The carnage of the seeds has been a theme of this year's Wimbledon - and yet three of the eventual semifinalists were Slam champions, if not ranked in the Top 10. The reason for the deepening of the field? Increased professionalization in the lower ranks, a widening pool of competitors and the fact that "unseeded players are often just top athletes who have experienced a temporary drop in level", writes Tumaini Carayol for The Ringer.
ORDER OF PLAY
For full Order of Play and to watch live streaming, visit Wimbledon's official site.