American tennis star Serena Williams was arguably sports’ most dominant athlete when she entered the Australian Open tennis tournament down in Melbourne. And that’s why the 34-year-old’s loss in the women’s singles final to 28-year-old Angelique Kerber of Germany on January 30th is considered such an upset. It was Kerber’s first appearance in the final of a Grand Slam tennis event in her 33rd major appearance. Kerber is now the first German woman to win a major tennis tournament since Steffi Graf back in 1999 while Williams was draw level with Graf’s mark of 22 wins in major singles competitions.
Williams went into the tournament as the top-seeded female tennis player on the planet and was the defending Australian Open champions. She was also aiming to win her seventh Australian Open title. However, it was Kerber’s moment of glory as she beat the defending champion by a score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes at the Rod Laver Arena. Williams has now lost two major tournaments in the past several months as she was knocked out of last year’s U.S. Open in the semifinals. Is she had managed to win the event in New York, Williams would have been the first Grand Slam winner since 1988.
Kerber was seeded seventh in the world going into the Australian Open and is the first seventh-ranked player to win it since Williams achieved the feat back in 2005. She’s also the first woman to triumph over Williams in a three-set major tennis final. Williams hugged Kerber after the match and told the media that her opponent deserved the win. She added, “She played so well today. She had an attitude that I think a lot of people can learn from, just to always stay positive and never give up.”
Kerber replied by saying that Williams is a great inspiration and her dream of winning a Grand Slam event has now finally come true, especially after not getting past the third round in any of her major appearances last year. Williams’ serve wasn’t at its best in the match and she made several unforced errors to the benefit of Kerber, but the young German fully deserved the victory with her inspired play. She converted five of her nine break points while finishing the contest with 13 just unforced errors while Williams committed 46 of them. Williams was credited with seven aces along with half a dozen double faults and Kerber pulled off aces and three double faults.
Surprisingly, Kerber was the looser player even though Williams had appeared in 25 major finals in the past. Williams has now gone 21-5 in her 26 major final appearances and is still trying to tie Graf’s 22 triumphs, which she achieved in her 31st attempt. The all-time record for Grand Slam women’s tennis final crowns is 24 and held by Margaret Court of Australia. Court, who is now 73, compiled her two dozen crowns between 1960 and 1973.
Kerber’s win vaults her into the number two seeding in women’s singles tennis and she’s now 2-5 against Williams in her career. There’s only one other player in the current top 10 who has beaten Williams more than once and that’s Maria Sharapova, but she’s just 2-19 and has lost 18 straight matches to her.Tweet
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