Kerber faces hapless task to fend off supreme Serena

Having been a Grand Slam semi-finalist as long ago as 2011, Angelique Kerber has had to wait some time before finally making a showpiece event.

They say that to be the best you have to beat the best, and while that mantra may hold some logic, Kerber may be wishing she was up against anyone other than Serena Williams.

Serena is the 1/7 favourite to lift the winner’s trophy in Melbourne, with Germany’s Kerber very much the underdog at 9/2.

Williams has won four of the last five Grand Slam tournaments, with semi-final run at the 2015 US Open the only time the world number one one has been denied in the last 18 months.

Indeed Serena has won 13 of the last 26 Grand Slams in which she has entered, and she has swept all her opponents aside Down Under this year too.

After a nervy opening round 6-4 7-5 win over Camila Giorgi, Williams has wasted little time in progressing through the rounds.

Dropping just 17 games in her last five matches, even Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska – both inside the world’s top five – could do nothing to slow her down.

Kerber ended British hopes with a 7-5 6-2 victory over Johanna Konta in the last four, after an impressive 6-3 7-5 win over pre-tournament dark horse Victoria Azarenka in the quarters.

The 26-year-old hasn’t dropped a set in any of her last five rounds, but her head-to-head record with Serena doesn’t bode well.

Williams leads the duo’s meetings 5-1, with Kerber’s only success coming in Cincinnati in 2012.

All of Serena’s wins have come in straight sets, and the 34-year-old is 4/9 to win in just two here.

A 2-1 win for the American is 7/2, while her opponent can be backed at 9s for both a 2-0 and a 2-1 success.

Over their last four meetings and eight sets, Kerber has failed to win more than three games on six occasions.

That may lead some to back Serena on the 5.5 games handicap at 4/5, where anything up to 6-3 6-3 would suffice.

It may seem a stretch to see such a heavy favourite for a Grand Slam final, but that’s just how dominant Serena is right now.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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