The narrative heading into the Wimbledon ladies singles final is, understandably, all about Serena Williams.
Back towards her best despite giving birth just 10-and-a-half months ago, the titanic presence in womens tennis is closing in on Margaret Courts all-time Grand Slam record.
Few would disagree with the notion that Williams is the greatest female tennis player in history but Courts appearance at the top of that particular leaderboard is one of the few shadows of doubt lurking in the corner.
It has to be said, her run to the final has left plenty to be desired.
After being handed the 25th seeding, there have been no big names confronting her – with the exits of every member of the WTA top-10 prior to the quarter-finals not helping in that regard – but that will all change in the final.
Angelique Kerber is one of the few players who can soak up Williams power. One of the few who can make her move. One of the few capable of holding her nerve on the biggest stage.
Their last meeting came in the final of Wimbledon back in 2016, a match Williams won, and the German left hander thinks little has change despite her opponents lengthy absence from the sport.
Shes always going out there to win the matches, she said after her semi-final win against Jelena Ostapenko.
I think it doesnt matter against who she is playing. Shes trying to, yeah, playing like she played the years before where she won the big matches.
Now for sure she had a lot of big confidence, especially after the matches she won here already. She know the feeling to going out on this stage where you are in the finals, especially here. She won here I dont know how many times.
Yeah, shes a fighter. Shes a champion. Thats why she is there where she is now.
Though she isnt surprised to see Williams standing across the net from her again at the All England Club, Kerber – who slipped out of the top-20 from world No. 1 during a disastrous 2017 – admits this match will be greatly different from their previous meetings.
Weve both learned a lot, she added.
Shes coming back. Im also coming back from 2017. It will be a new match. I know that I have to play my best tennis to beat her, especially on the grass, on the Centre Court, where she won so many titles.
I cant compare this year with 2016 or 2017. Im really proud to be back in the Wimbledon final, especially after things didnt go exactly as I was expecting last year.
Williams v Kerber head-to-head
Williams 6-2 Kerber
Grand Slam finals H2H
Williams 1-1 Kerber
Williams 1-0 Kerber
To be here again was a goal when I started this year, to be playing well in the Grand Slams and reaching the finals again. Its a great feeling.
Williams may have won at Wimbledon two years ago, but Kerber has defeated her in a Grand Slam final before, clinching the Australian Open title earlier that same season.
The American believes the German is well suited to this surface and represents a major threat having flown somewhat under the radar.
I feel like shes been playing really well, she said. A lot of people havent been, I dont think in beginning of the tournament, looking at her.
Routes to Wimbledon final
R1: 7-5 6-3 Rus
R2: 6-1 6-4 Tomova
R3: 7-5 7-6 Mladenovic
R4: 6-2 6-2 Rodina
QF: 3-6 6-3 6-4 Giorgi
SF: 6-2 6-4 Goerges
R1: 7-5 6-3 Zvonareva
R2: 3-6 6-2 6-4 Liu
R3: 6-2 6-4 Osaka
R4: 6-3 7-6 Bencic
QF: 6-3 7-5 Kasatkina
SF: 6-3 6-3 Ostapenko
I think grass is her best surface. She plays so well here. She knows how to play on this court. She does it well.
Its her second final in three years, is that right? Thats wildly impressive. Believe me, I know she wants to go out there and win. So do I. I think it will be just like the last final, it will be a really good final. Hopefully it will be a good result.
One major disappointment of the match is the uncertainty surrounding the start time – something that is desperately unfair for both players.
The overnight delay of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will almost certainly see the womens finale delayed.
Considering the tournaments stubborn stance over not moving the mens singles final to avoid a clash with the World Cup, its baffling they have elected to position the restart of the Djokovic-Nadal tie so close to the womens final.
Should Nadal win the fourth set and take it into a decider after the 1pm restart, its not beyond the realms of possibility that the Williams-Kerber contest would start after 4pm.
Having to wait around that long, unsure of when youre beginning the biggest match of your season, is just, frankly, ridiculous.
I suspect it will help Serenas cause – a player so used to big-match scenarios and fighting adversity. Its another big challenge facing Kerber.
However, the 11th seed enters this match full of confidence and on the back of a great year of consistent tennis – and shes come through a far tougher draw.
Dont be surprised to see the German win this.
Prediction: Kerber in 3