On Sunday in Melbourne, Angelique Kerber defeated Serena Williams 6–4, 3–6, 6–4 after two hours and nine minutes to win the 2016 Australian Open title. In case you missed it, here are some of the top moments and takeaways from the match.
Kerber stayed consistent throughout the match and her left-handed shots were a challenge for Serena from the start. At the beginning of the match, Serena began with a clean hold at love, but the opening set quickly turned in Kerber’s favor after she earned her first break of the match with great running backhand pass. Kerber then consolidated the break to go up 3–1 and Serena responded with a superb cross-court shot of her own:
Serena’s 23rd unforced error gave Kerber the first set, 6–4, marking the first time she took the opening set off Serena since 2012 and the first time that Serena lost the opening set in a Grand Slam final since the 2011 U.S. Open.
In the end, Serena finished with 46 unforced errors to Kerber’s 13 and 47 winners to Kerber’s 25. Here’s a look at the final stats:
A place in history
With her win on Saturday, No. 7-seed Kerber became the lowest ranked player to win the Australian Open since Serena in 2007. (Also an interesting fact to note: the last No. 7-seed to win the Australian Open was Serena in 2005.)
The German’s win also denies Serena from tying Kerber’s idol and countrywoman Steffi Graf’s record of 22 major titles. Kerber agreed that Sunday in Melbourne was certainly a big day for German tennis.
“I think I helped Steffi right now,” Kerber said after the match. “I think it's so good also for Germany, for the German tennis. After Steffi, now somebody won a Grand Slam. It's like just amazing. Right now I'm not thinking about the next tournaments, the next challenges. I'm just trying to stay here and enjoy everything.”
In the third set, Kerber saved two game points in a 16-point game—the longest of the match—using perfectly-placed dropshots to eventually go up 4-2 over Serena.
“She had some great dropshots, twice. You know, they were great,” Serena said after the match. “They were just unexpected because she hadn't hit any until the third set. So that's it. I definitely could have got them. I'm really fast. But I just wasn't able to read that one in time.”
After the match, Kerber explained why she decided to throw in the dropshots at such a tense, pivotal moment in the match.
“That's how I am, a little bit crazy, you know. I really know and I have confidence when I play my dropshots. I was, okay, the game is so long. I must change something what she was not expecting,” she said. “I was really hoping the ball was coming over the net because they were like really good. When I hit the first one I said to myself, ‘Okay, make another one. You can do it.’ It was just like more the feeling in this moment.”
Serena and Angie’s moment on court
When Serena’s volley went long on championship point, Kerber fell to the ground in disbelief:
After Kerber had her moment, the two finalists shared a hug on court:
On Monday, Kerber will rise to No. 2 in the WTA Rankings, a career-high for the 28-year-old. After the match, Serena was asked if Kerber deserved the No. 2 spot after her win.
“I think so. I mean, she's had a great month,” she said. “She got to the finals in Brisbane. She won here. So, yeah. I was surprised and really happy for her. I'm like, Whoa, No. 2. What's after 2 is 1, so I guess I better be careful.”
Monday’s new WTA top ten list:
- Serena Williams
- Angelique Kerber
- Simona Halep
- Agnieszka Radwanska
- Garbiñe Muguruza
- Maria Sharapova
- Flavia Pennetta
- Carla Suarez Navarro
- Petra Kvitova
- Lucie Safarova
Applause all around
Tennis players, athletes and others around the world sent their congratulations to Kerber and Serena via Twitter after the match.