Tennis

Serena's graph rises one more step

Welcome to The Hindu's live coverage of this year's Wimbledon. It was a cracking Women's Singles final match as Serena Williams took Angelique Kerber down in straight sets to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish for the 7th time... and equals Steffi Graf's record of 22 Major wins and, just for good measure, becomes the oldest player to bag a Wimbledon title.









Boy, it ended much more predictably than expected. It seemed as though once Williams took the first set, which was a tensely-fought unrelenting cat-and-mouse game, Kerber felt a rush of nervousness flood back into her system. And though she got vocally positive, Williams was indefatigable even though she came up against the wind, and once even took a fall. And now, she equals Steffi Graf's tally of 22 Grand Slam wins even as she bags her 7th Wimbledon title. The 7th! That is something.





Serena Williams wins the Wimbledon women's championship with straight sets 7-5 6-3

Now, now. Serena is on the prowl. That's the thing about predators; once they sight the prey unaided, they don't skimp on the gas. Three blistering aces take her to 40-0 within 25 seconds. And as Kerber returns the fourth serve, Serena advances menacingly with each shot, and ends it all with a soft overhead forehand drop to seal the deal and collapses blissfully to the ground. And it's, as they say, Game, Set, Match. (7-5 6-3).

And Serena has fallen. Not literally, don't worry. Just takes a slip at the net. Breaks Kerber with four consecutive points. And she will now serve for the Championship. (7-5 5-3)

Once Kerber negotiates the Serena serve, the rally is up for her taking with her unrelenting style of play. Serena tries to send a running forehand straight down the sideline but it falls just outside. Then, as Kerber floats a long lob, Serena moan-growls with delight even before it falls to the ground beyond the baseline. What focus here from both players as they are determined to take the rally down to the wire. In the end, Serena's angles are too powerful and steep and Kerber's backhand finally thuds into the net to give Serena the hold. (7-5 4-3)

Kerber is being pushed and pushed to one end of the court, but she is holding her own, returning the ball at equally steep angles, and Serena pushes it into the net to end an awesome rally. Kerber takes the game. (7-5 3-3)

Serena is holding her wits about her as the wind attacks her garments and the commentators think its windfall for them. What a drop volley to end another determined rally for the third point, there. And Kerber's looping backhand catches an updraft and is carried too long beyond the baseline, and Serena takes the fifth game. (7-5 3-2)

Kerber is now whooping away as she sends the ball into areas of the court that Serena is unable to man. And she takes the game. (7-5 2-2)

Serena takes the third game. (7-5 2-1)

Kerber holds too, this time way more eultant and expressive than before. And Serena's backhand is letting her down here. (7-5 1-1)

Serena holds the first service game of the second set. No sweat. Just Game-15. (7-5 1-0)

Serena Williams takes the first set 7-5

Williams races to 15-40 as Kerber sends a couple forehands long, and then takes the first set with a monstrously acute forehand that sends Kerber running out of the frame and unable to lob it back over the net. A whoop from Serena depicts the tight fight. And, ladies and gentlemen, we have the first break of the match! What a relief this first set is over. The relentless back-and-forth of held serves was getting to me. (7-5)





Serena's serving might make the difference between the two in the end. She takes the 11th game with a fierce ace that leaves Kerber a mere spectator. (6-5)

And Kerber serving to stay in the set. Serena loses the first three points, and then as Kerber stoops to the floor to pick one up from the baseline, Serena smashes it down the sideline. But Kerber holds again, to 15, as the American thwacks a backhand frustratingly into the net. And the cat-and-mouse game continues... (5-5)



Whoa, Serena! What tactics. Now, Kerber is second-guessing herself, expecting Serena to cancel the cross-court stuff. But the Williams sister sends it back to the place where Kerber was a second ago before she began panic-sprinting to the other side. But Kerber is matching Serena shot for shot, ending a dogged rally with a tremendously deceptive backhand slice-drop to make it to deuce. And an ace, and Serena holds again. Can someone just break, already? (5-4)

Kerber is trying to keep it cross-court, but Serena keeps shifting the script by slicing it square. In the end Kerber's patience has to give. Interesting how Serena is using Kerber's own style against her. (4-4)





And the first sign of the pent-up aggresson leaks out of Serena, as she wins a 21-point rally with a commanding net volley, to make it 40-15. Kerber comes back, as Serena gets ambitious with her baseline backhand, and duece it is. And another release of emotion from Serena as she smashes down the sideline and then watches Kerber go long. (4-3)

Serena did well in the last point to be alert to the net-clip, but couldn't run in fast enough to prevent her own lob from catching the net. This match-up has little between the two players. Keeping abreast of each other at all times. And Kerber holds. (3-3)

Ooh, Serena got lucky there as Kerber's drop floats just wide into the sideline. And another glorious ace secures her serve. (3-2)





Serena is attacking here. Moving in to the net like a predator, leaving her prey quivering at the baseline, and then dropping it over the net. Classy tennis. But Kerber still holds. (2-2)

And Serena is still serving as massively as she did against Elena Vesnina. Gives up a clean hold, thanks to a double-fault, but wraps the third game up with an absolutely scorching ace down the middle. (2-1)

Kerber comes back, and holds her serve with some pretty-looking drop shots after some poor backhands. (1-1)

Angelique Kerber wins the toss and chooses to return. Serena kicks it off with her monster serve. Takes the first game with some superb backhand play. (1-0)

First Set (Serena Williams - Angelique Kerber)





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After a commanding performance against Elena Vesnina on Thursday, in which she blazed through in a mere 48 minutes, Serena Williams is looking for that shining yet elusive Major no. 22, to equal the record set by inimitable Steffi Graf. She has her work cut out as she faces a red-hot Angelique Kerber, whose attritional German style of play has the tendency to wear the opponent down to submission, as happened at the Australian Open earlier this year.






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