Serena Williams has finally won her 22nd Grand Slam title, besting Angelique Kerber in the finals at Wimbledon on Saturday, 7-5, 6-3. Williams gets her seventh singles title on the grass courts of The Championships, and she has finally tied Steffi Graf for the most major titles in the Open Era.
It was obvious Kerber was in for a long day when Williams won her first service game and then fought Kerber to deuce several times on the German’s first service game. But Kerber did ultimately win that game as Williams hit one too long. Both players threatened breaks here and there, with Williams looking frustrated and upset like she usually does early in close matches — even when she ends up dominating later on.
The first set was very close, and it looked like it was headed to a tiebreak before Kerber double faulted on a serve with Williams up 6-5. Kerber ultimately dropped the set on the mistake, giving Williams a huge advantage with the first set in the bag, 7-5.
Kerber had played nearly perfect tennis before that point, and when she made one mistake, Williams was there to capitalize.
In the second set, Kerber saw her first break point opportunity on Serena’s 3-3 service game. But Williams quickly snuffed it out with a 117 mph ace to make it deuce, then again — 124 mph this time — to gain advantage. After a long rally, Kerber hit one into the net and Williams held serve. On Kerber’s next service game, Williams came through with a break and was serving for the match while up 5-3.
Williams completely dominated the game, and took the set at 6-3, and with it the match.
For Williams, it’s a huge relief after sitting on 21 Grand Slam singles titles for a full year now. Any woman in the field would kill to have that kind of problem, of course, but for Williams, losses in the finals of the Australian Open and French Open finals in 2016 had to be weighing heavily on her.
Now that she has No. 22 though, she can go for setting the Open Era record, having tied Graf for the most major singles titles of any woman. There was talk of Williams, 34, hitting a proverbial wall but her play at Wimbledon was excellent to say the least.
Perhaps she ultimately benefited from an “easy” draw (as if there are such things in Grand Slam tournaments), but her win over Kerber in the final was as legitimate as they get. She’ll take No. 22 into the US Open later this year as she tries to go for No. 23.
Kerber will go back to the drawing board after a late career resurgence. She turned pro in 2003 and had never previously made a Wimbledon final. In fact, her win against Williams in the finals of the Australian Open earlier this year was her first ever Grand Slam final. She has one major win to her name, and will go into the US Open later this year hoping to make it past the semifinals, which she last made in 2011.
Later on Saturday, Williams will try for her 14th Grand Slam doubles title, as she and sister Venus Williams will be taking on Timea Babos and Yaroslava Shvedova in the finals of that bracket. Before that match, the men’s doubles final will take place as top seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut face Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
source: sbnation.com By James Brady