Sunday, July 10, 2016

Serena ties Graf with 22 Grand Slam singles titles

Serena Williams defeated Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3
on Saturday for her seventh Wimbledon singles title.
2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   This was the Serena Williams we have come to know over the years.
   The one who blasts aces and service winners seemingly at will, leaving her opponent rolling her eyes and tossing up her arms in frustration.
   Who bludgeons groundstrokes to the corners of the court.
   Who bends over, violently pumps her fists and shrieks "Come on" after winning key points.
   Not the one who -- let's face it -- choked in three straight Grand Slam tournaments in an effort to tie Steffi Graf for second place on the all-time list with 22 major singles titles.
   Who double-faulted games away and sprayed groundstrokes in losses to Roberta Vinci in the U.S. Open semifinals last September, Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open final in January and Garbine Muguruza in the French Open final last month.
   Who moped around between points in those matches.
   Williams finally earned No. 22 on Saturday, equaling the record in the Open era (since 1968) and two behind Margaret Court, with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over the fourth-seeded Kerber at Wimbledon.
Angelique Kerber
2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Kerber, like Graf, is German and has been mentored by the legend.
   Williams, 34, and Kerber, a 28-year-old left-hander, have combined to win four of the past five titles in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. Williams triumphed in 2011, 2012 and 2014, and Kerber prevailed last year. Neither is entered in this year's tournament, July 18-24 at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
   After winning the final game Saturday at love on her serve, Williams raised her arms overhead and lifted two fingers on each hand to signify her accomplishment.
   Wimbledon's grass favored the powerful Williams over Kerber, considered the best defensive player in the women's game. Williams pounded 13 aces to Kerber's none, won 88 percent of the points on her first serve (38 of 43), saved the only break point she faced and laced 39 winners to Kerber's 12.
   It was Williams' seventh Wimbledon singles title, behind only Martina Navratilova's nine in the Open era. Williams also has won six Australian Opens, six U.S. Opens and three French Opens.
   Williams later teamed with older sister Venus to pick up their sixth Wimbledon and 14th Grand Slam doubles title. Unseeded, they beat fifth-seeded Timea Babos of Hungary and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-4.

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