Serena Williams Wimbledon 2016 trophy
Serena Williams is joy personified as she holds the Wimbledon trophy aloft after defeating Angelique Kerber in the final, July 9, 2016Reuters

After three failed attempts, Serena Williams has finally joined Steffi Graf as the record holder of Grand Slam titles in the Open era. At the fourth time of asking, Serena, fired up and with those steely eyes, overpowered a wonderfully-fighting Angelique Kerber in the final of Wimbledon 2016 to lift her 22nd Grand Slam title.

A year since she last won a major, on this very court, Serena needed to be at her absolute best to stop Kerber from winning her second Grand Slam title, a few months after she defeated the American at the Australian Open, with the world number one prevailing 7-5, 6-3.

After Kerber fought off three break points in her first service game of the match and with the quality of tennis improving, it was clear this was not going to be a 6-2, 6-0 48-minute blowout.

As good as Serena's service was in this Wimbledon final – she fired in 11 aces – Kerber stayed with the American in a wonderful toe-to-toe baseline battle.

There were some splendid groundstrokes, hit with ridiculous power, brilliant angle and outstanding accuracy. There were several rallies that went over the 15-shot mark, with both players needing to pull a few rabbits out of the hat to win points consistently.

Through all that quality tennis, however, Serena always seemed the likely one to win this match – not because she was playing the better tennis, but purely because of her outstanding serving. Serena hit eight aces in the first set, which she won by coming up with that exalted-level tennis champions always seemed to find in the 12th game.

Serena Williams Angelique Kerber Wimbledon 2016 final
Angelique Kerber would have had the title had she played so well against any other player not named Serena Williams. Pictured: Kerber and Serena share a nice moment during the presentation ceremony, July 9, 2016Reuters

The second set went back and forth on serve again, with both players just playing some outstanding rallies – one shot from Kerber, produced form well outside the court and which nearly went around the net rather than over had even Serena applauding.

However, like the first set, it came down to Serena stepping it up at a level when she needed it the most.

That step up came in the eighth game on Kerber's serve, with Serena running off four straight points from 40-15 down to get the only break she would need in the second set.

The hold, while serving for the Championship, was dominant and without fault, as an energy-filled putaway gave Serena her record-equalling Grand Slam title win.

Now, Margaret Court, the holder of the most number of Grand Slam titles in any era with 24, will be in Serena's sights, and the way she played this Wimbledon final, where Kerber was silenced in two straight sets in a match which the German would have won against any other opponent, it would be a brave man who would bet against the American not winning two, even three, more majors.

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