Angelique Kerber progressed to her second Wimbledon final in three years as she eased past Jelena Ostapenko on Centre Court on Thursday.
After a testing 2017 in which she did not win a title and failed to go beyond the fourth round of any grand slam, Kerber has enjoyed a resurgent 2018, winning the Sydney International and reaching semi-finals of the Australian Open and quarters of Roland Garros.
Ostapenko, French Open champion in 2017, threatened to be a significant obstacle in her attempt to return to the Wimbledon final, which she lost to Serena Williams two years ago, but the Latvian produced an error-strewn display in which she never settled after a nervous start.
That allowed Kerber to claim a comfortable 6-3 6-3 win, setting up either a repeat of her 2016 duel with Williams or an all-German final with Julie Goerges as the former world number one seeks to win the third grand slam of her career.
Ostapenko started the match with a double fault but, despite problems with her ball toss, produced a scorching backhand to save break point and then held with an ace.
She was then able to serve her way out of trouble in the fifth game after a backhand into the net gave Kerber break point.
Kerber did the same when under pressure in the subsequent game and then capitalised as the mistakes continued to flow from Ostapenko’s racquet.
Ostapenko blasted a backhand long to hand Kerber the initiative in the seventh game, and two games later the set ended as it started as she double-faulted to surrender the opener.
Kerber’s increasing confidence was evident when a backhand drop shot gave her two break points in Ostapenko’s opening service game of the second set. Ostapenko saved the first but then rattled a backhand into the net.
Ostapenko dropped her racquet and angrily shouted towards her corner after handing Kerber another break point, which was taken as the 21-year-old sprayed wide.
Yet she appeared to channel that anger positively, hitting a winner down the line to save match point and breaking as Kerber hit long. Ostapenko then consolidated to stay in the contest and threatened a third successive game as Kerber began to look shaky under the pressure.
But Kerber survived break point and made no mistake on her second match point, producing some excellent defence to draw the error from Ostapenko, who ballooned wide in a fitting end to a one-sided encounter.