World number one Serena Williams beat German fourth seed Angelique Kerber to win a seventh Wimbledon and 22nd Grand Slam title. The American, 34, coped with a gusty wind on Centre Court to win 7-5 6-3 and equal Steffi Graf's Open era record of ...
Serena Williams walks off still clutching that precious trophy, a smile as wide as one of my serves on her face. Enjoy it, Serena. Thatâ€™s all from me today. You can read the match report from Simon Cambers here. Thanks for reading and emailing. Iâ€™m off to see if I can get on Beyonceâ€™s jet to Dublin. Bye.
Serena Williams is all smiles as she leaves the court with Angelique Kerber. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
Hereâ€™s Serena! â€œItâ€™s such a great feeling to be out here.â€ She thanks a variety of people and deities.
â€œAngelique, I love playing her, sheâ€™s such a great opponent. When we walk off court, sheâ€™s such a great person to be around, always smiling. Thank you for being that great person.â€
Then itâ€™s time to talk about her 22nd title. â€œItâ€™s been incredibly difficult not to think about it, I had a couple of tries this year, lost to two great opponents. Thank you for being out here to say number 22, I love you guys so much. This court definitely feels like home. I have a match out here in doubles, so Iâ€™ll be back out here later on.
Venus is watching in her box too. Serena says her older sister is her inspiration. â€œI donâ€™t know what else to say,â€ Williams says. Can you blame her?
A standing ovation for Serena Williams as she goes up to collect the Venus Rosewater Dish for the seventh time in her career. Itâ€™s time to hear from Angelique Kerber. â€œI would like to say congrats to Serena, you really deserved your title, youâ€™re a great person, a great champion,â€ the German says. â€œVery well done Serena. Itâ€™s the best feeling to play here on Centre Court. Itâ€™s an honour to play here on this Centre Court. I would like to say thank you to my box, you are just amazing. I have the best team over there and I know you are always supporting. Sometimes I am not so easy but you always believed in me.â€
The players show off their trophies. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
Angelique Kerber collects her runners-up trophy. Sheâ€™s smiling as she lifts it into the air. She acquitted herself very well but there was no denying Serena Williams today.
â€œThis really is a high quality match with some brutal, but precise, hitting,â€ says David Wall. â€œI know the higher seeds donâ€™t like being on the outer courts but one thing you notice from watching matches on them, because of the lower camera angle, is the pace at which players hit even regulation groundstrokes. After watching some of the doubles earlier in the week I was wondering if Hingis might still do well on the singles circuit, with her brilliant racket control and court craft compensating for comparative lack of power. Watching this it shows how silly that thought was (at least for her to compete at the very top level, in contention for grand slams).â€
Serena Williams shares a warm embrace with Angelique Kerber, waves to the crowd and then sits back down in her chair, drinking it all in, just letting the glory of the moment wash all over. Of course, itâ€™s all down to the presence of Beyonce in her box. â€œDo you know that BeyoncÃ© is on stage in Dublin at 8pm tonight?â€ says Kevin McVeigh. Hopefully sheâ€™s presenting the trophies here.
Angelique Kerber of Germany versus Serena Williams of the US in the 2016 Womenâ€™s Singles final during day twelve of the 2016 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club on July 9th 2016 in London (Photo by Tom Jenkins). Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
Serena Williams is the Wimbledon champion! She beats Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3!
Standing on the brink of equalling Steffi Grafâ€™s record at long last, Williams wins the first two points, her serve too solid for Kerber. Another stonking serve brings up three championship points. Surely this is it. Surely this is the moment. 3.36pm on a Saturday afternoon in south-west London, 9 July 2016, and Serena Williams is almost there. Sheâ€™s so close. Surely sheâ€™ll do it now. Surely. She has to. Another good serve. A charge to the net. Kerber tries to pass her. But thereâ€™s no way past! Williams is there with a forehand volley ... and the ball lands in! Itâ€™s over! Sheâ€™s done it! Serena Williams is the Wimbledon champion again â€“ and sheâ€™s a 22-time grand slam champion! Oh my word. Weâ€™ve just witnessed history. She collapses in ecstasy. After all the waiting, sheâ€™s finally there. What a hero. What an athlete. What a woman.
Serena is all smiles after her victory. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Second set: Williams 7-5, 5-3 Kerber* (*denotes server): At 15-all, Williams ends up sprawled across the Centre Court turf after losing a laughable exchange at the net, both women showing amazing reflexes, sharp hands, even sharper minds and spectacular volleying skill. Neither of them deserves to lose it; Kerber wins it and smooths the path to a 40-15 lead. But Williams roars back. Three consecutive points earns her a break point - and Kerber knocks an awkward backhand wide! Williams breaks! Sheâ€™s about to serve for the championship, her 22nd grand slam title and her place in history!
Serena Williams races to the net ... Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
But ends up on the turf. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP
Second set: Williams* 7-5, 4-3 Kerber (*denotes server): Williams smashes an ace past Kerber, whoâ€™s having big problems reading that serve. Itâ€™s 15-0. But then comes a forehand miss and a double-fault, making it 15-30. The tension is tough to take here. Williams celebrates like sheâ€™s won the title when Kerber sends a return long, shaking her racket like sheâ€™s standing on the podium with a bottle of champagne. But sheâ€™s facing a break point after missing a backhand down the line. The response is an ace. The look on Kerberâ€™s face. Another one gives Williams a game point and she overwhelms Kerber, who nets a low backhand.
Second set: Williams 7-5, 3-3 Kerber* (*denotes server): Two stunning returns from Williams makes it 30-all. If she could just break here, oh, it would be so simple... At 30-all, a preposterous rally: Williams looks like sheâ€™s about to win it with a backhand from left to right but Kerber stretches and seizes momentum with a forehand from left to right. Williams nets. Then she plonks a forehand long. Kerber holds again.
Angelique Kerber stretches to return a shot. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
Second set: Williams* 7-5, 3-2 Kerber (*denotes server): Williams looks a little bit emotional after double-faulting at 15-0. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Not many of us will ever stand on the brink of history. Itâ€™s impossible to know whatâ€™s going through her mind at the moment. How is it possible to stay calm? But thatâ€™s what she has to do. And itâ€™s what she does. She serves well for 30-15, then dominates at the net for 40-15. Kerber then hits back with a searing forehand pass for 40-30. Williams takes big gulp of air before her next serve. She must be nervous. How could she not be nervous? Iâ€™m nervous on her behalf and Iâ€™m an Impartial Observer. Eventually she holds.
Second set: Williams 7-5, 2-2 Kerber* (*denotes server): The quality of tennis is increasing as the match goes on. At 15-0, Kerber has to be at her most stubborn to wrestle control of a rally out of Williamsâ€™s tight grip before she directs a superb backhand down the line. She enjoyed that - can you blame her? It was a wonderful shot, delivered from a seemingly impossible angle. Kerber holds when Williams drifts a slice long.
Second set: Williams* 7-5, 2-1 Kerber (*denotes server): Kerber doesnâ€™t seem to have allowed the loss of the first set to affect her too much, looping a stunning backhand on to the line for a 0-15 lead. Sheâ€™s no Elena Vesnina. Williams wins the next three points to lead 40-15 but another poor forehand drop shot allows Kerber to keep the game alive, the German skelping a forehand away for 40-30. Sheâ€™s allowed no closer than that, though. Williams holds to 30.
Second set: Williams 7-5, 1-1 Kerber* (*denotes server): Kerberâ€™s geeing herself up and pumping her first after sending a blistering forehand down the line for a 40-15 lead, Williams almost stumbling over again as she tries to hunt the ball down. The German holds to 15 when Williams nets a backhand.
Angelique Kerber returns. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images
Second set: Williams* 7-5, 1-0 Kerber (*denotes server): Kerber didnâ€™t do a lot wrong in that first set. But nor did she do enough to win it, failing t earn a single break point. Serena Williams is playing extremely well and thatâ€™s problematic for Kerber. The world No1 holds to 15 here.
Serena Williams wins the first set 7-5!
Kerber is serving to force a tie-break. Williams isnâ€™t interested in one, grabbing a 0-15 lead by coming forward to punish a short ball. At 15-all, Kerber hooks a forehand wide to leave Williams two points from the opening set. Make that one point. Kerber tightens up and sends another backhand long for 15-40. Williams chucks away the first, though, a dismal drop shot allowing Kerber to push a forehand down the line for 30-40. Yet sheâ€™s not willing to wait any longer. She zings a backhand from left to right with astonishing speed and for all her defensive skills, all Kerber can manage is a blocked backhand that loops into the net! Williams is a set away from her 22nd grand slam title!
Serena Williams fires a backhand back to Kerber.
Serena Williams celebrates winning the first set. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
First set: Williams* 6-5 Kerber (*denotes server): Hereâ€™s the first proper sign of trouble for Williams, whoâ€™s down 15-30 after overcooking a backhand down the line. Her response is two huge serves, though, hauling herself to 40-30. She holds with an ace.
A big booming serve from Serena Williams. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
First set: Williams 5-5 Kerber* (*denotes server): Williams misses two backhands to make it 30-0. This set really could go either way. Kerber holds to 15.
First set: Williams* 5-4 Kerber (*denotes server): Kerber lets out a little wail of frustration after missing a forehand return down the line at 0-15. It was a second serve. It was a chance. â€œCome on!â€ Williams yelps after whipping a forehand from right to left for a 30-15 lead. An ace makes it 40-15. But then Williams slips â€“ letâ€™s call it a Federer â€“ as she tries to reach an angled Kerber forehand. She feels her knee for a moment. Might she be vulnerable here? Perhaps. Kerber settles another lengthy rally with a superb backhand drop shot for deuce. Sheâ€™s growing in confidence. But Williams holds again. She survives. Kerber will serve to prolong the first set.
First set: Williams 4-4 Kerber* (*denotes server): Kerber looks to be in control at 30-0 but Williams hits back, ripping into a backhand return. Then the German wilts at the end of a long rally, rather desperately flailing a forehand wide. She has some serious thinking to do here. But she stays focused, serving expertly to hold to 30. Thereâ€™s nothing in this.
First set: Williams* 4-3 Kerber (*denotes server): Williams spanks an ace down the middle for a 15-0 lead. The levelâ€™s increasing. At 30-15, Williams wins an outstanding 21-shot rally, volleying confidently, though Kerberâ€™s defence was magnificent, repelling so many of Williamsâ€™s best efforts from the baseline. The German takes succour from that and wins the next point, battering a forehand down the line, and soon itâ€™s deuce as Williams nets a backhand. Yet Williams holds. She explodes a backhand down the line. Then she finds a wondrous angle with a backhand slice from left to right and Kerber can only drift a forehand long. Itâ€™s all very enjoyable.
Serena Williams celebrates a point. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
First set: Williams 3-3 Kerber* (*denotes server): Kerberâ€™s serve is thought to be her biggest weakness but itâ€™s clicking at the moment. Williams isnâ€™t getting too many returns in play and itâ€™s not long before itâ€™s 40-15. Another handy net cord helps Kerber to hold.
First set: Williams* 3-2 Kerber (*denotes server): Williams clips a forehand down the line for 15-0, showing a willingness to kill off the point as soon as possible. That will be crucial against Kerber. Williams is less sure of herself when she has to move and she nets an unsteady forehand for 15-all. Williams is a mite fortunate to see a blocked backhand from Kerber drop just wide, though, and an ace makes it 40-15. She holds again.
First set: Williams 2-2 Kerber* (*denotes server): Kerber holds to 30, without any fuss. Sheâ€™s looking bright. Both players are understandably nervy but a very good match is threatening to break out any minute now.
Angelique Kerber stretches for a return. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
First set: Williams* 2-1 Kerber (*denotes server): A routine hold to 15 for Williams, nothing to see here despite a double fault at 40-0. She makes up for it with an ace down the middle.
A small fist pump from Serena. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
First set: Williams 1-1 Kerber* (*denotes server): Beyonce and Jay Z are in Williamsâ€™s box. Itâ€™s fair to say she has some pulling power. Sheâ€™s not too bad on the court either. This game goes to 30-all before Williams earns the first break point with a gorgeous touch at the net, a half volley that Kerber canâ€™t reach. She was ready and waiting when Kerber went crosscourt with her forehand. The break point goes begging, Williams knocking a backhand long, but she has another opening when Kerber nets a running backhand. Again, however, she canâ€™t take it, netting a forehand on the run. She canâ€™t convert a third one either, airing her disgust at an awkward backhand return. Eventually Kerber holds. She reaches a Williams drop shot and dabs it over the net. A net cord unsettles Williams and she sends a backhand long.
First set: Williams* 1-0 Kerber (*denotes server): Angelique Kerber won the toss and chose to return first. So itâ€™s Serena Williams who gets the Wimbledon final underway. It begins promisingly. Kerber wins the first point with a crunching forehand down the line. Williams responds with a spectacular backhand winner from left to right before grabbing the next three points to hold to 15.
Weâ€™ve had the coin toss, weâ€™ve had the photos and itâ€™s time for them to knock up. Itâ€™s warm today but itâ€™s pretty windy. The blustery conditions could have an effect on the match.
Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams line up ahead of the final. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Observer
The players are making that long, winding journey through the corridors, down the stairs, past the trophy, past all the officials and security guards and helpers. Theyâ€™re both given flowers because women love flowers, itâ€™s science, maybe they can use those instead of their rackets. Itâ€™s a thought! Then they emerge to huge applause. Serena Williams removes her headphones. Itâ€™s time.
Sure, Steffi Graf won the Wimbledon final in 1996. But...
Thereâ€™s been a first ever British winner in the menâ€™s wheelchair doubles.
Tracy Austinâ€™s doing the BBC punditry.
Both players have been imperious during their runs to the final. Angelique Kerber hasnâ€™t dropped a set and those were some impressive performances against Simona Halep and Venus Williams, two menacing foes. As for Serena, she had her wobble against Christina McHale in the third round but sheâ€™s chewed up three Russians and spat them out this week. The world No1 is looking ominous.
The head-to-head record? Serena Williams leads 5-2. Before Australia, Kerberâ€™s only win over Williams was a 6-4, 6-4 triumph in Cincinnati four years ago. She didnâ€™t take a set in any of those five defeats. But the memory of Australia hangs in the air. â€œI expect a really tough match,â€ Kerber says. â€œI know that she will go out and try to beat me, especially because she lost against me in Australia. On grass she is always dangerous. I think she won here so many times, she will go for it. I know this. I know I have to play my best tennis.â€
Hello. Three times Serena Williams has tried to equal Steffi Grafâ€™s record of 22 grand slam singles titles. Three times she has come up short. First there was New York, Roberta Vinci and the US Open semi-final that somehow got away. Last month there was Paris, the brilliant Garbine Muguruza and a comphrensive defeat in the French Open final to the rising star of the womenâ€™s game. And in between those two setbacks, there was the Australian Open final and there was an opponent who simply wouldnâ€™t go away and allow history to be written at her expense.
It was Angelique Kerber who stunned Williams in Melbourne in January, confronting her with a wall of dogged German defiance, dismantling the world No1 with her ability to make her play one more shot, one more shot, one more shot, until there were no more shots to play and the trophy was in arms of the underdog. And it is Angelique Kerber who stands in Williamsâ€™ way again. Still stuck on a meagre 21 grand slam singles titles â€“ pah! â€“ the world No1 is in familiar territory, Centre Court on the second Saturday of the Wimbledon fortnight. Sheâ€™s won here six times, sheâ€™s lost here twice, not since 2008.
As ever, Williams is the heavy favourite. But she will not be delighted to see Kerber on the other side of the net. The world No4 has her own links with Graf, after all. Itâ€™s 20 years since a certain someone became the last German woman to rule Wimbledon.
Play begins at: 2pm BST.