How the Bookies See it
- Serena Williams v Elena Vesnina: Williams 1/10, Vesnina 13/2 - Boylesports
- Angelique Kerber v Venus Williams: Kerber 4/9, Williams 19/10 - William Hill
- Tournament Winner: Serena Williams 2/5, Kerber 10/3, Venus Williams 12/1, Vesnina 16/1 - Paddy Power
- No.1 seed and defending champion Serena Williams has swept through her last three matches in straight sets and seems to be approaching her best form. She has won 21 Grand Slam titles and is looking to tie Steffi Graf’s record of 22.
- Vesnina had to come through a tight battle with Ekaterina Makarova in round four, winning 9-7 in the third, before easily beating the 19th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2 to reach her first Grand Slam singles semi-final. She has reached the final of all four Grand Slams in doubles.
- Kerber is the only player in the draw yet to drop a set and was in sparkling form as she overcame Simona Halep 7-5, 7-6 in the quarter-finals. Kerber won the Australian Open in January and her run at this tournament will lift her from her current world ranking of four.
- Venus Williams has not been as far as the Wimbledon semi-finals since losing in the 2009 final. She is a five-time Wimbledon champion, though, and has had to come through five tough matches this year.
The fairytale script would be for Venus Williams, 36, and Serena, 34, to go on and contest a Wimbledon final for the fifth time, but it is easy to see why the bookies are not convinced it will happen. Kerber is the understandable favourite to beat Venus and it will require a monumental effort to defeat the German, who has been one of the most consistent players of the year and showcased all her athletic and defensive skills in an eye-catching performance against Halep.
The chink in Kerber’s armour is her serve, which was broken repeatedly by Halep, so if Venus can find some big returns and land a high percentage of her own first serves, she certainly stands a good chance. However, Kerber is likely to come out on top in most of the extended rallies and has spent far less time on court than Venus - who is eight years her senior - so if the match goes the distance it should count in her favour. If Venus can’t win in straight sets, and that is unlikely, then a punt on Kerber to win 2-1 at 3/1 with Ladbrokes looks good.
A defeat for Serena would rival Novak Djokovic’s loss to Sam Querrey in terms of shock level, but Vesnina has shown that she has the mentality to cope with the big occasion after reaching multiple Grand Slam finals in doubles. She demolished Cibulkova in the quarter-finals and her volleying skills will provide a different test for Serena, so odds of 13/8 with Bet365 on the total number of games being over 20 could be worth considering, but the six-time champion should have too much power and ultimately come through to win.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Angelique Kerber to beat Venus Williams 2-1 - 3/1 at Ladbrokes
*Please note, odds may fluctuate in the run-up to matches.