Wimbledon final rematch looms for Kerber, Serena

Published by Reuters / AP

Angelique Kerber (R) and Serena Williams embrace after Kerber won their 2018 Wimbledon final (getty Images)
Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams split their Wimbledon finals of 2016 and 2018, and could meet this year in the last 16.

Women’s defending champion Angelique Kerber begins her defence against fellow German Tatjana Maria.

Yet as early as the fourth round, Kerber could face Serena Williams, who is seeking an eight Wimbledon title and a 24th Grand Slam crown and who plays Giulia Gatto-Monticone of Italy in the opening round.

Meanwhile, new world No.1 and top seed Ash Barty plays Saisai Zheng, and should she get past that test, faces an incredibly tough path to her second Grand Slam singles title after triumphing at Roland Garros earlier this month.

Barty faces a potential third-round clash against former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and is also in the same quarter as Serena and Kerber, who have clashed in two of the past three Wimbledon finals.

Serena won the first in 2016, while Kerber gained revenge with a straight-sets win of her own in 2018.

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The most intriguing women’s first-round sees five-time champion Venus Williams up against 15-year-old American qualifier Cori Gauff.

Venus, 39, had already won Wimbledon crowns before Gauff, the youngest player to get through the qualifying tournament in the professional era, was born.

Gauff grew up idolising the Williams sisters, who have both been ranked No.1 and own a combined 30 Grand Slam singles titles.

“They’re the reason why I wanted to pick up a tennis racket,” Gauff, who is ranked 301st this week, said in an interview posted on Wimbledon’s Twitter feed. “And I met them both, and they’re both super-kind people, and I’m just super-happy and thankful that they chose to play tennis.”

Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who was dislodged from top spot this week by Barty, faces a tricky opening-round test against Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putinseva, a player who beat her in Birmingham last week.

In the top half of the draw The women’s quarterfinals could see Barty up against 11th seed Serena or No.5 seed Kerber, and No.4 seed Kiki Bertens against No. 6 Petra Kvitova, the two-time champion who must decide whether to play after being sidelined with an injured left forearm.

In the bottom half, No.3 Karolina Pliskova is projected to face eighth seed Elina Svitolina while second seed Osaka could face No.7 seed Simona Halep;

The quarter with Serena Williams, Barty and Kerber also includes past Wimbledon champions Muguruza and Maria Sharapova, and strong grass-court players Julia Goerges, Belinda Bencic, Donna Vekic, Kaia Kanepi and Alison Riske.

Kerber could meet Sharapova in the third round.

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