Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber will meet in the Wimbledon final tomorrow in a rematch of the 2016 showpiece.
Williams, playing in just her fourth tournament back after a traumatic labour last year, beat German Julia Goerges 6-2 6-4 to reach her 10th final at the All England Club, while Kerber qualified for her second after seeing off Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-3.
Williams, the seven-time champion, is unquestionably Wimbledon royalty, but she will be supported by the real thing tomorrow when her close friend Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, visits the All England Club with her sister-in-law Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Williams, who was among the guests at Meghan’s wedding in May, said: “We’ve always had a wonderful friendship.
Every year for a couple years she comes out to Wimbledon, has supported me. Now she’s supporting me in a different role. But our friendship is still exactly the same. I look forward to it.
Victory over Kerber would give her a 24th grand slam singles title, tying her with Australian Margaret Court.
She cited beating Court’s record as a motivating factor in her comeback, but said yesterday: “To be perfectly honest, I haven’t thought about that this tournament. Not even once actually.
“I think that’s a good thing because I put so much pressure on myself when I was trying to get to 18, then the rest, it was so much. I don’t want to limit myself. I think that’s what I was doing in the past, I was limiting myself.
“It’s just a number. I want to get as many as I can. I still have a match to win, so I’m not even there yet.”
While Williams has seven Wimbledon crowns, Kerber has her heart set on winning a first.
Her previous trophy successes — at the Australian Open and US Open — came in the same glorious 2016 season as her first run to the final at the All England Club.
The form of two years ago sent Kerber to world number one and she is playing at a similarly high level after a horror 2017 campaign.
Wimbledon is a really special place. I think everybody knows this tournament. It would be really special to win,” she said.
“But it’s still a long way off. I know that I have to play my best tennis in the final.
“For sure it’s really special. I know it will be a full house there. The atmosphere will be amazing.
“I’m looking forward to having the feeling again.
“With 2016, all the success, 2017, with a few up and downs, to coming back this year, I think I learned so many things about me.
“The last years, not only 2016 and 2017, also the years before, give me a lot of experience and to know what is really important in life, what’s not, and what you have to focus on.”