Serena Williams to face Angelique Kerber in Wimbledon final

Serena Williams powered her way into the final with victory over Julia Goerges. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2018
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Serena Williams to face Angelique Kerber in Wimbledon final

  • American through to first slam final after birth of her daughter
  • Serena can equal record of 24 slam titles

LONDON: Seven-time champion Serena Williams reached the Wimbledon final for the 10th time on Thursday and will face Germany’s Angelique Kerber for the title.
The 25th seeded American downed German 13th seed Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-4 to book her place in her 30th Grand Slam final.
The 36-year-old, who will be in her first final at the majors since giving birth to daughter Olympia last year, can equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 slam titles if she beats Kerber in what will be a repeat of the 2016 final at the All England Club.

Williams said "it's crazy" that she has managed to reach a 10th Wimbledon final, 10 months after life-saving surgery which followed her pregnancy.
"It's crazy. I don't even know how to feel because I literally didn't think I'd do this well in my fourth tournament back," said Williams.
It's a staggering achievement for Williams, who defeated Kerber in the 2016 final before sitting out the 2017 tournament to prepare for parenthood.
Her daughter Olympia was born in September but Williams then underwent emergency surgery to prevent life-threatening blood clots.
She was bed-ridden for six weeks and only returned to the tour in March.
"This is not inevitable for me, I had a really tough delivery and multiple surgeries and almost didn't make it to be honest," said Williams after her semi-final victory on Thursday.
"I couldn't even walk to my mailbox, so it's definitely not normal for me to be in a Wimbledon final. I'm just enjoying every moment."
Seeded 25 this year and with a world ranking of 181, Williams insists she will be the underdog against Kerber on Saturday despite boasting a 6-2 career lead over the 30-year-old left-hander.
"I don't have anything to lose and I feel I can play so free. That's what I'm doing," said Williams.


Why Juventus could prove to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s toughest, most rewarding challenge yet

Updated 20 July 2018
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Why Juventus could prove to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s toughest, most rewarding challenge yet

  • Portuguese superstar has moved to Italian giants in deal worth nearly $120 million
  • Ronaldo scored 450 goals in 438 games for Real Madrid

LONDON: Love him or loathe him, you have to admire Cristiano Ronaldo’s character.
At a time of life when lesser mortals are lured by big paychecks to the likes of Qatar or China, the mercurial Madeiran has opted for what will be his biggest challenge yet at Juventus.
His career over the last decade has been played out under the cloud of the never-ending debate — “Ronaldo or Messi; who is better?”
Thankfully, that circus was quietened somewhat at the recent World Cup. Some flashes of pure brilliance aside, neither player made a big enough impact to lead their respective teams to glory and Messi’s wait for an international trophy goes on.
And, while both players are undeniably in a league of their own, the fact Ronaldo does have a European Championship title under his belt will always tip the argument toward the Portuguese — especially for those who measure greatness in statistics and trophies.
In fairness, Ronaldo’s statistics are mind-boggling. His stint at Manchester United, where he cut his teeth and started to show his potential as a great of the game, was instrumental in the club winning three Premier League titles and their third European crown. His staggering 450 goals in 438 games for Real Madrid saw him become the Spanish giant’s record goalscorer on his way to winning everything under the sun.
But the Premier League and La Liga are leagues in which attacking footballers flourish. With the dawning of wall-to-wall TV coverage, they have both been transformed to entertain the billions of people who tune in every week — and in this day and age, goalscoring superstars win you fans, not defenses.
The art of defending has all-but disappeared and the culture of building a spine through a team has slowly but surely been eroded away. Nobody wants to watch an engrossing, absorbing, end-to-end goalless draw anymore — it is all about 6-5 thrillers.
But not so in Italy.
Serie A, for all its scandals and fall from grace since its heady days of the 1990s, is still an extremely difficult league to win. It is a league in which fans and managers place great emphasis on defending, on building teams from back-to-front (not the other way around) and on the mentality of “you cannot lose if you don’t concede.”
Granted, Juventus have walked Serie A for the past seven seasons; it is to be expected from one of the richest clubs in the world. But rarely have they won it at a canter. Never once have they scored anywhere near 100 goals in a season to win it — unlike Manchester City in last season’s Premier League, or Barcelona and Real Madrid almost every season in the same period.
And not once has Serie A’s top-goalscorer reached the dizzying heights Ronaldo (and Messi) hit in La Liga season after season, nor has it always been a Juventus player claiming the golden boot.
This all points to a monumental challenge for Ronaldo. On paper, he should not find it as easy to score goals in Serie A and with the marked improvement of Napoli, Roma and Lazio recently, nor will it be an easy ride for Juventus to claim an eighth scudetto in a row this year.
So, while Messi prefers to stay in one country and within his comfort zone of the defense-shy Spanish league, if a 30-something Ronaldo succeeds in Italy — or, better yet, guides Juventus to the European glory the fans crave so much — it would be his most remarkable achievement yet.
And it would put the tiresome debate over who is the greatest ever to bed, once and for all.
No contest.