Angelique Kerber beats Serena Williams to win final of Australian Open

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(London Post)     Germany’s Angelique Kerber has beaten American Serena Williams to win the final of the Australian Open. This makes her the first German woman to win a Grand Slam since Steffi Graf won her last one in 1999.

Angelique Kerber, the sixth-ranked woman’s player going into the Australian Open, pulled off a major upset on Saturday, beating the world No. 1 and defending tournament champion, Serena Williams of the United States, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

The 28-year-old German choked back tears as she accepted the winner’s trophy, the first Grand Slam title of her career.

“My dream (has) come true on this night,” Kerber told the capacity crowd of 15,000 at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. “My whole life I was working really hard, so now I am here and can say that I am a Grand Slam champion – and it sounds really crazy,” she said.

Williams, 34, who failed in her bid to win her seventh Australian Open and equal Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles, was gracious in defeat.

“Congratulations, you did so well. You played the best in the tournament,” Williams said to Kerber as she addressed the crowds after the match. “You truly deserve it.”

In Graf’s footsteps

Kerber became the first German woman to win the Australian Open since Steffi Graf did so in 1994 and the first to win a Grand Slam title since Graf won the French Open in 1999.

Any fears that Kerber might be overawed by playing in her first Grand Slam final were quickly erased. She broke twice in the first set as Williams made 23 unforced errors.

In the second set, Williams cut down on her errors and looked more like the top women’s player, taking the match into a third and deciding frame.

Both suffered early breaks in the third set, but the tide seemed to swing in Kerber’s favor in a marathon sixth game, when the German finally converted her fifth break point to take a commanding 4-2 lead.

She extended that to 5-2 and was serving for the title at 5-3 before Williams fought back to make it 5-4. Kerber, though, wasn’t to be denied. Williams hit a forehand volley long on match point for her 46th unforced error of the match to hand the German the victory.

Sunday’s men’s final is to feature the two best players in the world, the No. 1-ranked Serbian, Novak Djokovic, against Britain’s Andy Murray.

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