American Serena Williams on Saturday defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 to win the 2016 Wimbledon women’s single title.
The victory was third time luck for Williams as she finally matched Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles. It was her seventh Wimbledon crown.
Williams was forced to play some of her best tennis by resolute Kerber in an engrossing Centre Court duel and her formidable firepower proved decisive as she overwhelmed the German opponent.
Kerber had stopped Williams in the Australian Open final in January to win her first grand slam title.
She was also stopped last month by Spain’s Garbine Muguruza in the French Open final as the 34-year-old American waited to equal Graf’s mark.
But, this time Williams could not be denied.
To her great credit, fourth seed Kerber stayed in contention throughout a fascinating match of contrasting styles.
However, with the Williams serve at its destructive best, there was only so much punishment she could absorb on a blustery court.
The end came quickly when Kerber was broken for the second time in the match in the seventh game of the second set.
Williams roared to the title with a love game, sealing victory with a simple volley before joyfully collapsing to the turf.
“It’s been incredibly difficult not to think about it (Graf’s record),” a smiling Williams said on court as she clutched the Venus Rosewater Dish.
“I had a couple of tries this year but lost to two great opponents, one of them being Angelique, but it makes the victory even sweeter to know how hard I worked for it.
“Thank you guys for being out here to see number 22; this is awesome,” she said to the crowd who were treated to a one hour, 21 minutes final, full of absorbing rallies.
Williams won 38 of 43 points on her first serve and faced only one break point, at 3-3 in the second set, which she saved with one of the 13 booming aces she delivered.