But it was Kerber who put in a regal performance, crushing Williams 6-3 6-3 to win her third Grand Slam title.
Williams came out swinging but was easily overpowered by Kerber in back-to-back sets.
"I am the next German victor after Steffi Graf".
Her early-season woes though seem to be distant past as the 36-year-old has been at her dominant best in the ongoing grass-court Grand Slam tournament in London. "I was really happy to get this far" Serena Williams said speaking to the BBC. You could see it in her body language, she really settled in.
Follow along below for live updates and highlights as Williams takes on Kerber at Wimbledon.
Six months later, she was runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon before adding a second career major at the US Open with victory over Karolina Pliskova.
Kerber made just five unforced errors compared to Williams' 24 as the German reversed the result of the 2016 final.
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Following another two months away from competition, she entered the French Open in late May, and won three matches before pulling out before the fourth round because of an injured pectoral muscle.
She was ranked No. 183 after returning to the pro tour in March.
Serena Williams reacts to losing against Angelique Kerber on Saturday, July 14, 2018. Terrific playing from two legends of the court.
Tennis champion Serena Williams has lost the Wimbledon Ladies' final.
Kerber, cleverly moving Serena into awkward positions, took full advantage, winning four games in a row to wrap up the set.
In a role reversal from her wedding - at which Williams was a guest in May - Meghan Markle, th Duchess of Sussex, watched her friend alongside sister-in-law Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, from the royal box. Every year for a couple years she comes out to Wimbledon, has supported me.
On break point, the left-hander landed the knockout blow with a fierce forehand victor down the line that left Williams grasping in vain to reach it. "Keep taking giant steps, but keep improving".