Serena Williams: Six memorable Grand Slam finals
Serena Williams is set to play the US Open, which will most likely be the last tournament in a career that has earned her 23 Grand Slam singles titles and the accolade of greatest female player of all time. AFP Sport looks back on six of its most memorable finals at the majors:
1999 U.S. Open
At just 17, the first of her Grand Slam titles came at Flushing Meadows with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) win over Switzerland’s Martina Hingis. Williams had beaten Conchita Martinez, Monica Seles and 1998 champion Lindsay Davenport along the way. She was also the first black woman to win a major since Althea Gibson in 1958.
“It’s really amazing for me to even have the opportunity to be compared as well as Althea Gibson. She was a great player. It’s pretty exciting for me,” she said.
French Open 2002
Serena had to wait the best part of three years to win a second Slam with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over her sister Venus in the final at Roland Garros. Venus had won the sisters’ only other previous meeting in a major final in New York in 2001.
“I’m so happy to have won my second Grand Slam in three years, but obviously I’m also a bit sad for my sister,” said Serena, who won the French Open again in 2013 and 2015.
The 2002 title match in Paris was the first of four straight Slam finals between the sisters, with Serena winning all four.
2003 Australian Open
Williams wins her first Australian Open and completes the “Serena Slam” after an epic 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-4 win over Venus.
The world number one became only the fifth woman in history to win all four Grand Slams at the same time after Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.
“I can’t believe I can be compared to these women, to be in their category is truly amazing,” she said.
“I’m making history right now, it doesn’t happen every day.”
Serena and Venus have met in four Wimbledon finals, but the 2003 duel was the closest. Venus fought valiantly despite an abdominal injury and hip issue before losing 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“She’s tougher than I ever thought she was,” Serena said. “I knew she was tough, but she took it to a whole new level. To play today knowing she was hurt, she’s definitely among the true fighters and champions.”
Williams beat Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 for a fifth Wimbledon title and 14th Grand Slam.
However, the feat was all the more remarkable as the American was out for a year between 2010 and 2011 with a leg injury and pulmonary embolism.
“I can’t even describe it. I almost didn’t make it a few years ago. I was in hospital but now I’m back here and it was totally worth it. I’m so happy.”
Australian Open 2017
Her 23rd and most recent Grand Slam triumph came in Melbourne with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Venus achieved while pregnant with daughter Olympia.
A seventh Australian Open title saw the 35-year-old also regain the world number one rank.
It was the sisters’ 28th career meeting and ninth in a Slam final.
“There’s no way I’m 23 without Venus. She’s my inspiration,” Serena said.
The sisters have faced off twice more, with Serena seeing off Venus when they last met, fittingly at the US Open in the third round in 2018.
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