LONDON: Serena Williams powered to her seventh Wimbledon crown as the world number one finally claimed a record-equaling 22nd major title with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Angelique Kerber in Saturday’s final (Sunday in Manila).
Williams had been stuck on 21 Grand Slams since winning last year’s Wimbledon, but the American star ended that frustrating barren spell to retain the title and draw level with Steffi Graf’s Open era record.
Serena was pushed hard by Kerber in a high-quality clash lasting 81 minutes on Centre Court, but the German fourth seed eventually crumbled under a barrage of 39 winners and 13 aces from the defending champion.
“It’s a great feeling to be here. Angelique brings out great tennis in me,” said Serena.
“Number 22 is awesome. Centre Court feels like home.”
Williams had come up short at the US Open last year, losing in the semi-finals.
She then was beaten in the Australian and French Open finals.
“Definitely so excited to win Wimbledon, that’s always a great feeling. But maybe even more so is the excitement of getting 22, trying so hard to get there, finally being able to match history, which is pretty awesome,” said Williams.
“I think, if anything, I was able to show resilience that, no, that’s (the losses in New York, Melbourne and Paris) not going to shake me, you’re not going to break me, it’s going to make me stronger.”
Kerber said the American was a great champion.
“Serena you deserve it, you are a great champion and great person. We played a great match,” said Kerber.
To complete a golden day, Serena later teamed up with sister Venus to beat Timea Babos and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3, 6-4 to claim their sixth Wimbledon doubles title.
It was also their 14th doubles triumph as a team at the majors and their 22nd in 23 finals overall.
Having avenged her shock loss against Kerber in the Australian Open final in January, Williams was wreathed in smiles as she paraded the Venus Rosewater Dish around Centre Court after collecting a cheque for £2 million ($2.5 million, 2.3 million euros).
But the far more significant reward is the knowledge she has reestablished her supremacy at a time when doubters were beginning to question the 34-year-old’s hunger after consecutive Slam final defeats this year.
Serena ‘saddened’ by US shootings, fears for family
Serena said she was saddened by the gun violence and deteriorating race relations in the US, admitting she fears for the safety of her own family in the current volatile climate.
Five police officers were shot dead by a black extremist in Dallas, Texas, during a march to protest against police brutality.