Wimbledon Semifinal Previews: Kerber vs. Ostapenko; Goerges vs. Serena

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Serena Williams is the most dangerous player remaining in the women's draw. (AP)

Steve Tignor previews the women's semifinals at Wimbledon. 

1. Angelique Kerber [11] vs. Jelena Ostapenko [12]

You don’t often see two players face off for the first time in a Grand Slam semifinal. If they’ve made it this far, they’ve probably been on tour for at least a few years, long enough to make the rounds of their fellow elite players. But while Kerber is 30 years old, and Ostapenko has already won a major title at 21, they’ve avoided each other so far. Well, there's no place like Wimbledon to kick off a potential rivalry, right?

On paper, this match looks especially intriguing, as it will feature a clear-cut contrast in styles: Ostapenko will supply the offense, and Kerber the defense. While the Latvian was scorching in her quarterfinal win over Dominika Cibulkova, that was a match where her opponent was feeding her the pace she likes, at the height she likes. The veteran Kerber, who has played like a woman on a mission these past two weeks, will mix up her spins and trajectories more, and that could give her an edge. Winner: Kerber

WATCH—Daily Serve from Day 9 at Wimbledon:

2. Julia Goerges [13] vs. Serena Williams [25]

Like Kerber and Ostapenko, Williams and Goerges have surprisingly little history against each other. They’ve been on tour together for more than a decade, but they've played just three times, once in 2010, once in 2011, and last month at the French Open, where Williams won 6-3, 6-4. Serena has won all of their matches in straight sets, but they've never played on grass. Not that Goerges is likely to be helped by playing on it this time: Serena is a seven-time Wimbledon champ, while Goerges had lost a stunning five straight first-round matches before last week.

Goerges has the power to hit with Serena, but unlike Camila Giorgi, who pushed the American deep into a third set on Tuesday, the German’s ground strokes take some time to unwind. That’s time she probably won’t have against Serena. Winner: S. Williams

Strokes of Genius is a world-class documentary capturing the historic 13-year rivalry between tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It is timed for release as the anticipation crests with Roger as returning champion, 10 years after their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship – an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true winner was the sport itself.


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