Like a script well written and on a night when Steffi Graf loomed large over Rod Laver Arena, Germany’s Angelique Kerber shocked the tennis world by defeating world number one Serena Williams in three sets to win her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Saturday and become Germany’s first grand slam champion in 17 years.
In the ultimate tribute to her childhood hero, Kerber foiled Williams’s bid to match the German great’s tally of grand slam titles, closing out a magnificent 6-4 3-6 6-4 win in her first major final.
The 28-year-old who is seeded seventh in the rankings is the first German to win a major singles title since Steffi Graf at the 1999 French Open. She will move up to No.2 in the world behind Williams, and is the first seventh seed to win the women’s singles crown in Melbourne since Williams 11 years ago
Williams, 34, was beaten for just the fifth time in 26 Grand Slam finals, and the American missed the chance to tie Graf’s open-era record of 22 titles.
Reacting to the victory, Kerber said that being able to say she was a Grand Slam champion “sounds crazy”.
“It’s my dream come. I worked for this my whole life,” said the German.
“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.”
Serena Williams was gracious in defeat, telling Kerber “Angie, congratulations. You deserve this and I’m so happy for you. I really hope you enjoy this moment. Would I give my performance an A? No, but this is all I could produce.
“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”, the world number one added.
Photo Credit: angelique-kerber.de