WIMBLEDON — This time, Serena Williams wouldn’t be denied.
Deprived of a record-tying 22nd grand slam title in the Australian Open and French Open finals this year, Williams got to No. 22 Saturday by defeating Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-3 in a high-quality Wimbledon final.
It was the same Kerber who beat Williams in Melbourne in January but the world No. 1 turned the tables on the grass at the All England Club with a clinical display of power tennis amid windy conditions.
The 34-year-old struck 39 winners. She only faced one break point, at 3-3 in the second, and saved it with one of her 13 aces.
Williams and Kerber’s fellow German Steffi Graf now tally 22 majors, the most in the Open Era of professional tennis. The American will now go about attempting to get to Margaret Court’s 24 grand slams, the all-time record. Court was in attendance Saturday.
Williams could pick up more silverware later Saturday when she teams up with older sister Venus — a loser to Kerber in the semifinals — in the women’s doubles final.
The first point of the women’s final whetted the appetite: After a lengthy exchange, Kerber struck a winning forehand.
Superb entertainment ensued for fans on Centre Court and the millions watching around the world as Kerber attempted to neutralize Williams’ power.
The fourth seed won what was arguably the point of the contest in the fourth game of the second when she crushed a backhand from well outside the doubles alley down the line.
But it was ultimately Williams who prevailed, coming up with a winning volley on match point before falling backward onto the grass. Williams and Kerber then exchanged a long hug to cap an enthralling battle.