Serena Williams won her 20th Grand Slam title and third French Open crown at Roland Garros on Saturday, clawing her way back from a break down in the last set to defeat Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2.
In what was a disjointed affair, the 33-year-old American was coasting to a straight-sets win, a set and 4-1 up against the Czech 13th seed, playing in her first Grand Slam final at the age of 28.
But a combination of serving woes for Williams and some top play from Safarova forced a third set, the fifth of the tournament for the American.
She fell 0-2 down in that, but recovered her composure in the nick of time to rattle off six games in a row for the title.
With 20 Grand Slam titles Williams is now second on the Open-era list, two shy of Steffi Graf. She is also now halfway to winning all four Grand Slam titles, in the same year, a feat previously achieved by just three other women, the last being Graf in 1988.
For Safarova, who reached the final without dropping a set, the consolation will be her debut in the world top 10, at number seven. And she has the women’s doubles final to follow on Sunday, playing with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.