Serena Williams beat Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-7 6-2
Serena Williams continued her domination of women's #Tennis with a hard-fought victory over Lucie Safarova in the French Open final yesterday. After struggling to overcome a bout of flu for much of the week, the American still had sufficient reserves to battle back from a break down in the third set to claim her 20th Grand Slam singles title. For Safarova it was a brave attempt in her first Grand Slam final, with the feeling that she should have more to look forward to in the future.
The superlatives for Serena's achievements over the years continue to flow off the page. Her latest success was perhaps not her finest display, but given the illness issues she has had to cope with that was not too surprising. In Safarova she also faced a very capable opponent, one who will surely soon be in the top ten rankings (she entered the event seeded 13th).
Serena in control at the start
Set one had been relatively plain-sailing for Serena, with a break of serve in the fourth game allowing her to go ahead and take that 6-3. Into the second set there had seemed little chance of a comeback for Safarova when the number one seed established a 4-1 lead. Yet even the legendary Serena can falter at times, as Safarova broke back with the aid of a succession of double faults from her rival.
Safarova fought back
The 28-year-old Czech player held on to her serve for the remainder of the set and was a convincing winner of the resultant tie-break by seven points to two. An early break in the third set (perhaps too early) looked to be propelling her towards the title, as at that stage Safarova was in the ascendency.
Serena found her champion spirit though to break back midway through the third set and level at 2-2, with her opponent the woman to double-fault this time. Cue her trademark fist clenching and shouts of delight, as she willed herself on to that final surge towards her destiny. She had gathered herself again, with the Czech by now having few answers and beginning to let errors creep into her own game under the barrage from the other end. After a shade over two hours of play, the American ultimately ran away with the final set, taking the final six games on the bounce.
Serena's record blossoms
Ms Williams' record speaks for itself, with only Steffi Graf on 22 titles and the Australian Margaret Court (24) ahead of her in terms of Grand Slam singles successes now. She will be the red-hot favourite to edge even closer to the German's tally at the upcoming Wimbledon tournament, with the added incentive of holding all of the four major titles at the same time should she achieve that. Claiming the title at Wimbledon would also see her surpass Graf's Grand Slam total victories.Surprisingly this was only her third victory at Roland Garros, backing up previous successes in 2002 and 2013. Fittingly, Serena received the famous Coupe Suzanne Lenglen from another great former champion, Martina Navratilova.