New Delhi: Serena Williams finally equaled Steffi Graf's long-standing Open Era record of winning 22 Grand Slam singles titles after defeating Angelique Kerber in the final of 2016 Wimbledon women's singles final on Saturday.
Serena, 34, won the match 7-5, 6-3 in one hour 23 minutes, in front of a packed Centre Court crowd at All England Club. The world number one's history making feat came some time to come, after she lost the finals the Australian Open and French Open finals early this year, and also the semi-finals of 2015 US Open.
The US Open melt-down last year had denied Serena a calendar Grand Slam.
This marked her seventh Wimbledon title in nine finals, and 12th in the family with her elder sister – who lost to Kerber in the semis – already collecting the Venus Rosewater Dish five times. Serena had previously won the Wimbledon titles in 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015.
The defending champion lost the very first point of the match, but soon started playing her flowing tennis coupled with powerful serves.
But the first break in the first set came late with both players holding their respective serves. Kerber, despite playing his first Wimbledon final, managed to hold on for majority of the set, until that decisive 13th game.
Serena reeled off eight aces against Kerber's none, and won 54% of total points with one break point conversion from five chances.
The second game, however, proved lot easier for Serena fired as many as 13 aces, and once again, against Kerber's none. And despite committing three double faults, Serena managed to raced away to 5-3.
And she started the ninth game with three unplayable serves, and won the title with an easy overhead volley on Kerber's left court.
Today's win also helped Serena avenged her final lost to the German in their first meeting after the Aus Open summit clash in January.
In her way to 28th singles final in Slams, the American world number one dispatched Elena Vesnina in 48 minutes in quickest ever semi-final match.
For Kerber, she was bidding to become the first German woman to win Wimbledon since Graf in 1996.