Germany’s Angelique Kerber defied the odds to beat world number one Serena Williams in the Australian Open final and claim her first Grand Slam title.
The seventh seed won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 after two hours and eight minutes at the Rod Laver Arena.
In doing so, she became the first German to win a major singles title since Steffi Graf at the 1999 French Open and ensured she will move up to number two in the world rankings.
“It’s my dream come,” said Kerber, who saved a match point in her first-round win over Japan’s Misaki Doi.
“I worked for this my whole life.
“It’s been such an up and down two weeks, I was match point down in the first round and had one foot in the plane to Germany.
“Now I have beaten Serena and won the championship.
“I have so many emotions, so many thoughts, but all of them good ones.”
American Williams suffered defeat for only the fifth time in 26 Grand Slam finals and missed the opportunity to equal Graf’s Open-era record of 22 titles.
“Angie, congratulations,” the 34-year-old said in addressing Kerber.
“You deserve this and I’m so happy for you.
“I really hope you enjoy this moment.”
Kerber, who was making her Grand Slam final debut against an opponent she’d beaten just once in six previous meetings, took the first set after 39 minutes having capitalised on 23 unforced errors from Williams.
But the defending champion wasn’t going to lie down easily and reduced her number of unforced errors down to just five on her way to claiming the second with a single break in game four.
Both players suffered early breaks in the third set but the match appeared to tip in Kerber’s favour in a stunning sixth game when she finally converted her fifth break point to take a 4-2 lead.
She improved that to 5-2 and was serving for the title at 5-3 before Williams fought back.
But the German attacked her opponent’s serve once again and clinched the title when the top seed sent a volley long.
“Would I give my performance an A? No, but this is all I could produce,” added Williams.
“I’m not a robot.
“I do the best that I can.
“I try to win every point but realistically I can’t.
“Maybe someone else can.”
Later in the day, Brazil’s Bruno Soares and Great Britain’s Jamie Murray both claimed their first men’s doubles Grand Slam titles after beating Canada’s Daniel Nestor and Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the final.
Soares twice lost his serve as Nestor and Stepanek won the opening set.
But the Brazilian and partner Murray began to take control in the second set and after taking it with a break in the fifth game, the duo served out for victory at the second attempt in the third.
The men’s singles final between Murray’s younger brother Andy and world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia is due to take place tomorrow.
- By Daniel Etchells
- This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, www.insidethegames.biz