Serve seems sure to dominate again and it will come down to small margins and I have to think that Venus holds all those tiny edges and I expect her to play the bigger points a little better. I still cannot get out of my mind how fragile Muguruza was in the Spring and she is not guaranteed to hold it together on such a massive occasion if things start to run away from her at any stage. Of course, we have no need to get involved, but I do feel Venus should be a reasonably solid favourite and around 57% feels more correct than her current odds of 47 %. Venus to win @ circa 2.07-2.10 if you are not already on.
These two have met twice this year, I previewed the most recent and those notes are reproduced below the "good luck" sign off. It was on clay in Rome, so has little real relevance, but it provides some background info and also touches upon their meeting a few weeks prior to that on a hard court (Konta's favourite surface) in Miami, where the Brit won 6-4 7-5, with Venus
gifting her almost three games worth of double faults. Williams the elder gained some revenge in Rome winning in three, neither are at their best on clay, but Venus
will take confidence from that. Grass is her favourite surface and she is a five time Wimbledon winner and also three time runner up, to Serena each time, without her sister in the picture previously, she would probably be looking at a 9th or 10th title this year (maybe more without her illness issues) and lay claim to the GOAT on grass and in truth, at her peak, she was not far off. Venus
is not at that level currently, but doesn't have to be, she is the only former winner left in, is in her best form for years and took Serena close in Australia in the first major of the year back in January. Most importantly of all, she doesn't have to worry about her sister this time round. ahead of that final I wrote ..............
I spoke about how wonderful it would be to get another all Williams slam final a decade and a half plus after the first , we have it, it will be something to savour and hopefully the match will rival the occasion. It is eight years since Venus' last slam decider and 14 years since her first and only appearance in the final here at Melbourne, but we can hope that facing her little sister across the net will make it seem more familiar an occasion and that nerves will not overly play a part.
This is their 28th meeting, but only 5th since 2009, two of those came on hardcourts (1-1) and both went to three sets and that at a time when Serena was #1 and Venus dealing with so many illness and injury issues. Serena has yet to be taken to a decider this tournament, but was pushed to the limit, far, far closer than the scoreline indicates by Barbora Strycova in a 7-5 6-4 win. The revitalised Czech player who has featured heavily in my notes this month went on court believing she could beat Serena, took the game to the best player on the planet and was crestfallen when she came up short, that is what you need to bring to the party to beat Williams the younger and what so few have the self belief to do.
However, Venus brings that and also something else and even after two decades on Tour and another one before that starting on public courts in LA, the psychology between the two remains complex , unlike any two other players in tennis and with that comes unpredictability. Venus still thinks of herself as a champion, which she is and without the injury issues, would have several more slam titles to her name and spoke about this after her semi final win, which she celebrated with total unbridled joy. I have reproduced the full interview below the "good luck" sign off, but want to highlight this comment ....." Even the matches I'm not winning, I'm still in control, normally, of every match that I have the opportunity. "It's on my racquet, always putting myself in position to be where I need to be." That, to me, just hghlights the self belief she still has.
In their last meeting, in the US Open of 2015, Venus was very much the aggressor and attacked Serena from the start pretty relentlessly and despite dropping the first set 6-2, took the second 6-1 and looked enroute to victory, but her sister's big first serve prevailed in the third. I think it might have to again, Venus has a better read on Serena's second than anyone else, as you might expect, she has certainly seen more of it and from both sides of the net and she had little sis gambling big time that day, it paid off, but she made a number of double faults, Venus won just about the same number of points on return and there was only a cigarette paper between them.
Venus brings the belief and confidence to the mix and stirs it up with some knowledge and unpredictability that only comes when two people are so close.