• No1 seed wins 7-5, 6-3 over Angelique Kerber after high-quality final
• Williams equals Steffi Graf’s open-era record of 22 grand slam singles titles
Serena Williams has won so many grand slam titles in what continues to be a glorious career she has forgotten more than she can remember. But her seventh Wimbledon title, achieved on Saturday thanks to a hard‑fought 7-5, 6-3 victory against Germany’s Angelique Kerber, promises to linger for longer than most.
It was the American’s 22nd grand slam championship, putting her level with the open-era record held by the most famous German player of all, Steffi Graf. It is her ninth grand slam win since she turned 30 and, even with her 35th birthday just around the corner, Williams remains a remarkable force of nature that shows no sign of stopping.
Having gone close in each of the past three grand slams and having lost against Kerber in the Australian Open final in January, the world No1 edged a tight first set and then held on in the second to clinch an emotional victory and move within two of the all-time grand slam record of 24, held by the Australian Margaret Court.
“It’s been incredibly difficult not to think about it [the record],” said a jubilant Williams, who was denied the calendar year grand slam last September by Roberta Vinci, of Italy, in the semi‑finals of the US Open.
“I had a couple of tries this year, and lost to two great players, one of them Angelique,” Williams said. “What makes the victory even sweeter is knowing how hard I worked for it.”
Number 22 was a long time in coming, relatively, as Williams was denied by Kerber in Australia and then again by Garbiñe Muguruza at the French Open last month. Williams admitted getting there has caused her some sleepless nights and more than a few stressful moments but, having reached it, perhaps the pressure will be off.
“I was definitely so excited to win Wimbledon, that’s always a great feeling,” she said. “But maybe even more so is the excitement of getting 22, trying so hard to get there, finally being able to match history, which is pretty awesome.”
Kerber, who will rise to the No2 ranking on Monday, was disappointed not to leave with the trophy but proud of the way she played. “I think I was not the one who lost the match – she won the match,” she said.
“I had a great experience from Australia and also here. I think I’m on a good way to play better and better. I hope I will reach a few more finals and maybe win a few more grand slams.”
This was the point that did in Serena Williams’ bid for a historic calendar year Grand Slam, which went down in flames on Friday after unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci stunned Williams 2-6 6-4 6-4 in the U.S. Open semifinals. It’s one of the best points you’ll see played on a tennis court. It also shows just how insanely hard it is to achieve what Serena was trying to do by attempting to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same calendar year, a feat which hasn’t been accomplished in men’s or women’s tennis since Steffi Graf did it in 1988.
With Williams serving on a game point at 3-3 in the third set, Vinci manages to engage the world number one in an absolutely epic defensive baseline battle to start the point. Eventually Vinci forces Serena into her far forehand corner with a beautiful runner, but Williams responds with a devastatingly angled cross-court forehand that pulls the Italian completely off the court. Somehow, Vinci manages to reach the shot and sends back an amazing forehand that puts Serena on the defensive. As the crowd noise builds, Serena is pushed back into the corner, Vinci approaches the net, and finishes off Williams with a perfect drop shot that Williams runs across the entire court to try to reach, desperately lunging forward despite the fact that it was clearly going to fall for a winner. A gassed Serena can’t believe it and a jubilant Vinci puts her hand on her ear, calling for the crowd to recognize her amazing skill.
The whole sequence lasted 18 strokes, got Vinci back to deuce, and clearly shook Serena physically and emotionally. Two points later Vinci would break Serena to take a crucial 4-3 third-set lead. She did not look back.
Winning a calendar Grand Slam—28 consecutive victories at four straight Major tournaments in one season—inevitably means having to overcome this kind of challenge several times. That challenge can come from a fellow champion, like Serena’s sister Venus who pushed her to the limit in the quarterfinals. But it can also come from an unheralded underdog who had only previously reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal twice, never previously been in a Major semifinal or cracked the WTA top-10, and just happened to be playing the tournament of her life, as in the case of Vinci.
That these tests come match-after-match at a Major is what makes Graf’s accomplishment so inconceivably hard to replicate. It’s also what make Serena’s accomplishment this past year—winning 33 consecutive Grand Slam matches and four straight Slams between the 2014 U.S. Open and 2015 Wimbledon—almost nearly as impressive as it would have been had she won them all in the same year.
Hearing 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” made music-listeners feel more powerful.
Pump-up songs make us feel capable and powerful. Athletes know that intuitively — batters swagger out to raucous walk-up songs, stars like Serena Williams and Lebron James warm up with headphones on (except when, in James’s case, the headphones come off to blast Wu-Tang Clan in the locker room).
But what is it about a good pump-up song that makes us feel invincible? According to a new study, the answer is in the bass.
A research team at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business began with what we know about music and power. Past studies had shown, for example, that heavy metal and hip-hop music are linked to dominance and aggression, which are associated with feeling powerful.
So the team, led by Adam Galinsky and his student Dennis Hsu, did a series of tests to isolate exactly what it is about certain music that makes us feel powerful. First, they asked people to listen to dozens of songs and answer questions about how powerful they felt while they listened.
MELBOURNE, Australia — All week at the Upset Open, the favorites have fallen as if engaged in a game of superstar dominoes. Serena Williams toppled first. Then Maria Sharapova. Then Novak Djokovic. Then Victoria Azarenka.
The trend continued Wednesday night, albeit with a twist. The latest lower seed to undo a top-five player was not really an underdog, but rather Roger Federer, perhaps the greatest player in tennis history.
Federer, seeded sixth, arrived at the Australian Open with a new coach, Stefan Edberg, and a larger racket frame, and for five matches now he has continued to turn back the clock. His 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 destruction of fourth-seeded Andy Murray in Wednesday’s quarterfinal was vintage Federer, circa 2004 or 2006 or 2009: a blend of sliced backhands and risks taken and hair flopped, with notes of confidence and hints of movement best described as silky or refined.