Serena Williams added another remarkable accolade to her near-incomparable resume of accomplishments on Saturday afternoon when she defeated Lucie Safarova in the French Open final to lift her 20th Grand Slam title.
Williams, who played for much of the fortnight at subpar health as she nursed a cold, was able to oust the Czech in three sets to become the latest player to win the first two Grand Slam events of the season consecutively since 2001. It was a contest that ended 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 after Williams won the final six consecutive games of the match to secure the win. It was her fourth three-set match during her fortnight stay in Paris.
“It got really complicated today,” Williams said. “I was getting a little bit nervous, and Lucie was just playing great. She was a magnificent opponent. She was playing very aggressive and she had no fear.
“To win my 20th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros is very special for me because I haven’t always had the most success here. I want to thank all of the fans – it’s just a dream that I’ve won this title.”
The match was a rollecoaster affair that saw Williams win the opening set in her typical fashion but later allowed Safarova to work her way back into the match by losing five of the last seven games in the second set to force a decider. There, she went down 0-2 and was in significant danger of losing the match. However, she eventually turned things around and was an unstoppable force from then onwards.
Williams also became the third person in tennis history to win 20 major titles, behind Margaret Court and Steffi Graf.