History calls as Serena and Kerber face off in final

Fri Jul 8, 2016 9:55am EDT
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By Pravin Char

LONDON (Reuters) - When Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber walk onto Wimbledon's Center Court for the women's final on Saturday, the legacy of Steffi Graf will loom large.

The showdown will see world number one Williams try to equal Graf's professional era record of 22 grand slam singles titles, while Kerber will seek to become the first German woman to lift the Wimbledon singles crown since her idol Graf 20 years ago.

If Kerber prevails, completing a daunting double over the Williams sisters at the tournament, it could also signal a changing of the guard at the top the women's game.

It would be the second time this year she had beaten the American in a grand slam final, having triumphed at the Australian Open in January.

Kerber, 28, would also become the first woman apart from Williams to win two grand slams in a season since Justine Henin in 2007, when the Belgian player was world number one.

Williams, who turns 35 in September, is a six-times Wimbledon champion and the clear bookmakers' favorite. But the Graf milestone is nevertheless sure to be weighing on her mind.

She has flatly refused to discuss it at this year's championships, on one occasion testily telling reporters: "I'm not talking about that anymore. Sorry."

Kerber, free of such weight of expectation and history, has been happy to discuss her ambitions to emulate Graf.   Continued...

Jul 7, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Serena Williams (USA) in action during her match against Elena Vesnina (RUS) on day 11 of the 2016 The Championships Wimbledon.  Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports