(June 6, 2015) Serena Williams won her 20th major title on Saturday defeating Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 for her third French Open title.
Williams remains undefeated at 9-0 against the 13th seeded Czech. She is 20-4 in major finals.
It was a struggle Williams for much of the fortnight, having to battle back from a set down in four of the five previous matches, in addition to having the flu.
Williams is now halfway through a calendar Grand Slam, winning the Australian Open in January. She has won three majors in a row – 2014 U.S. Open, 2015 Australian Open and now Roland Garros. She won four majors in a row from the 2002 French Open to 2003 Australian Open which has been dubbed “the Serena Slam.” Should Williams win at Wimbledon, it would be her second “Serena Slam.”
The last player to win the US Open, Australian Open and Roland Garros in a row was Monica Seles in 1991-92.
Williams is the first woman since Jennifer Capriati to win the first French Open and the Australian Open in the same year.
The world No. 1 is now two majors behind Steffi Graf and four behind Margaret Court on the all-time list.
Her third Roland Garros title puts her in elite company with all-time greats who have also won three Paris crowns in the Open Era – Monica Seles (1990, 1991, 1992), Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario (1989, 1994, 1998) and Margaret Court (1969, 1970, 1973).
Williams at 33 years, 254 days is the second oldest women’s winner at Roland Garros. The oldest was Hungary’s Zsuzsi Kormoczy, who was 33 years, 279 days when she won the 1958 singles title.
Playing in her 24th major final, Williams broke Safarova’s serve in the fourth game of the first set to lead 3-1. Safarova saved a set point serving at 2-5, but Williams closed out the first holding at 15 for 6-3.
Williams, who coming into a major final was 17-0 after winning the first set, broke Safarova’s serve to open the second and extended the lead to 4-1 breaking again in the fifth game. Williams a point away from a 5-1 lead, dropped three double-faults in the next game to give the break back. Williams gave the second break back in the eighth game and the set was leveled at 4-4. Safarova won her fourth game in a row to take a 5-4 lead in the second set.
Williams after yelling at herself, held serve and broke Safarova’s serve to serve for the title. Safarova broke back to send the set to a tiebreak.
Safaraova took a 3-0 lead and never looked back, winning the tiebreak 7-2 sending the match to a third set.
“I got so frustrated. I was just so angry at myself. I pretty much gave the match away,” Williams said “I just had to, like, try to pull it together.”
Safarova’s good fortune continued, opening the third set with a break of serve. At 0-2 down in the third set Williams won the next six straight games to close the match.
“When she was on, she was just serving amazing and going for the returns, pressuring me right away,” said Safarova. “It’s just hard to do anything with that.”
The world No. 1 now owns 67 career singles titles to her name.
“When I was a little girl, in California, my father and my mother wanted me to play tennis. And now I’m here, with 20 Grand Slam titles,” Williams said in French to the crowd after the win. “This is very special for me. I haven’t always played very well here, but I’m really happy to win the 20th here.”
Safarova will be making her Top Ten debut on Monday is projected to be ranked No.7. Along with Petra Kvitova, this will be the first time since the Fall of 1989 that two Czech women rank in the Top 10.