Kerber triumphs as rival suffers stage fright
ANGELIQUE Kerber has defied a Wimbledon truism, proving defence can be as effective as attack on grass while demolishing Jelena Ostapenko in a disappointing semi-final.
Wily Kerber needed only 68 minutes to smother erratic Ostapenko's title hopes 6-3 6-3 to reach her second All England Club decider.
Beaten in the 2016 final by Serena Williams, Kerber will contest her fourth major final against the same player on Saturday.
Serena later ended the challenge of Julia Goerges, winning 6-2 6-4.
With just 10 winners and a meagre seven unforced errors, Kerber's relentless retrieving was the key as Ostapenko's 30 winners were undone by 36 unforced errors.
"It was a really tough match, Jelena is always playing a great match," a generous Kerber said.
"I was moving good and taking my chances.
"It's such a great feeling to be on centre court and back in the final.
"She's always fighting until the last point, so I was just trying to stay focused until I won the last point."
The 2016 Australian and US Open champion, Kerber endured a lean season last year as she struggled to adjust to expectation.
"2017 is over and I'm really happy about that, it's 2018 now," she beamed.
"I'm really happy and proud to be back into a grand slam final. This is what I've worked for since I was a young kid.'
Ostapenko had not dropped a set in five previous matches here to reach the last four, but the French Open winner succumbed to a severe case of stage fright.
When Kerber struck first with service break in the seventh game, there was little hint of the carnage to follow.
Ostapenko lost six games in a row from 3-all in the first set to 0-3 in the second as Kerber turned the screws.
From first-set parity, Ostapenko conceded nine of the last 12 games of a miserably barren contest.
Her body language - bent double, hands on knees - betrayed a fragile state of mind as steely Kerber mercilessly blunted the youngster's power.
By the time Ostapenko managed to find the slipperiest of footholds, Kerber was steaming away.
It took the Latvian until 1-5 in the second set to secure her first service break. But it was too little, too late.
Kerber will play either Williams or German compatriot Julia Goerges in the final.
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