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Serena, Kerber to clash in Wimbledon final

LONDON: Six-time champion Serena Williams stormed into her ninth Wimbledon final in record time on Thursday and will meet Angelique Kerber after the German ended Venus Williams’s hopes of becoming the oldest woman in the title match in 22 years.

Serena, bidding for a seventh Wimbledon and an Open Era record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title, took just 48mins 34sec, the fastest ever semi-final at the All England Club, to secure a 6-2, 6-0 win over world number 50 Elena Vesnina.

But her hopes of meeting Venus for the fifth time in a Wimbledon final and ninth time at a major were shattered when fourth seed Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion, saw off the 36-year-old 6-4, 6-4.

Serena, playing in her 32nd Grand Slam semi-final, blasted last-four debutant Vesnina off the sun-kissed Centre Court in front of Prince William’s wife Kate watching from up in the Royal Box.

The American fired 11 aces, 28 winners and committed just seven unforced errors, breaking serve five times to reach her 28th Grand Slam final.

Vesnina won just three points off the Williams serve in the first set and none in the second.

“I’m very happy. I was really focused today. We’ve had tough matches before and I knew she could bring it to me on this surface,” said Williams, who has now defeated the Russian five times in five meetings.

Despite the painfully one-sided semi-final Williams, into her third Grand Slam final of the year, insisted it had been a tough workout.

“It’s never easy out there, every point you have to fight for,” she said.

“I can’t believe I’m in the final this year. I’m 0-2 this year so I’m determined to win one. I want Venus to win, but Kerber would be another good match.”

Vesnina, who was due to face Serena again in the women’s doubles later Thursday, admitted she just wasn’t good enough.

“I felt like I had no chance. Serena was playing really good. She was in a great mood, and her serve was working really well. She was placing it amazingly,” said the Russian.

“She was just better all over the court.”