Germany’s No.7 seed Angelique Kerber put up an inspiring display to topple 21 time grand-slam champion Serena Williams 6-4 3-6 6-4 in the Australian Open final, winning her maiden grand slam title in the process.
Coming into the match, World No.1 and defending champion Williams was the heavy favourite having beaten Kerber in 5 of 6 previous meetings and also boasting a 6-0 win/loss record previously in the final stage at Melbourne. But it was not to be for Serena today as she came up short against Kerber’s relentless defensive and counterpunching skills.
Kerber, who was a match point down against Misaki Doi in the first round two weeks ago has played the best tennis of her life ever since as she progressed into the final with relative ease after that including a notable straight sets victory over 2-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the quarter-finals. And she carried that confidence into the final, starting with an aggressive yet solid game plan against an erratic Williams, earning an early break. Williams was quick to get one back, however that did not affect Kerber who broke again and edged the first set 6-4.
Williams roared back in the second set with some controlled aggression, breaking Kerber early on and hitting the right spots with her serve, the No.1 seed took the set 6-3 to level the match. Into the deciding set, Kerber did not let the 2nd set setback affect her and hit some incredible passing shots on the run to break Williams immediately and eventually go up 5-2. The German had a minor blip while finishing the match, expectedly so against the mighty Serena Williams, as she was broken while serving for it at 5*-3. However, some impressive returns and incredible defence forced Serena to finally succumb with a missed volley on match point, handing Kerber the match, 6-4 3-6 6-4 and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial cup, her maiden grand slam silverware.
Kerber becomes the first German to win a slam since 1999 when Steffi Graf won the French Open, a record 22nd grand slam title, a number which Serena still falls short of by one at 21.