Angelique Kerber beat Serena Williams 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the women’s final of the Australian Open at the Rod Laver Arena on Saturday to be crowned the new Australian Open champion. In the build-up to the match, a lot of the talk was about Williams who was looking to equal Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles, while Kerber was preparing for her debut Major final and hoping for a debut title too. The seventh seeded German won the toss and elected to receive first, setting up an interesting opening game as Williams serve is known to pack a punch whereas Kerber has a reputation for her mobility around the court and ability to hit back on the counter.
It was a fabulous start from the world number one who held her serve well to win the first gameto love. At the other end of the court, Kerber had a nervy start but managed to regain her composure, levelling matters in the second game before going on to extend her lead in the third and fourth games. Williams clawed her way back to deuce in the two games that followed with shouts of “Come on” ringing around the arena but then went on to lose the next two as a lack of control let her down on both occasions.
At 5-3, Williams treated the crowd to an array of shots, a forehand winner, a backhand winner and an ace before Kerber overplayed a backhand to bring the American within one point. Despite losing the first game to love, Kerber went on to win the first set with a.love game victory of her own. The German would have been disappointed with her second set as she allowed Williams back into the match.
The world number one cruised into a 4-1 lead following a number of forehand and backhand winners but had to battle out the remainder of the service games. After another terrific display of tennis from the pair, both managed to hold onto their serve and Williams went on to win the set 6-3 as she initially had a three game advantage. The third set was filled with a number of big hitting rallies, winners and aces and it was difficult to tell who would take the set.
Kerber out-aced Williams to win the opening two games but then lost her advantage as the American powered her way back into the contest. A lack of consistency and poor footwork was Williams’ downfall and Kerber punished her, winning the next three games to bring her within a game of the championship. A number of winners in the rallies that followed handed the American a lifeline as she clawed her way back to within a point of Kerber.
At 5-4, the title was still up for grabs and Williams could still equal Graf’s record, however an untimely unforced errors would hand Kerber her first Grand Slam as she rounded off a solid performance by breaking her opponent’s serve and winning courtesy of another miscontrolled shot from Williams.