Williams beats Safarova in 3 sets at French for 20th major

World Today

US player Serena Williams celebrates after winning her match against Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova during their women’s final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK

PARIS — Serena Williams beats Lucie Safarova in 3 sets in French Open final for 20th Grand Slam title. 

When Williams plays her best, no one is better. Putting aside a lingering illness, a mid-match lull and a feisty opponent, Williams won her third title at Roland Garros by beating 13th-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2 on Saturday.

“When I was a little girl, in California, my father and my mother wanted me to play tennis. And now I’m here, with 20 Grand Slam titles,” the 33-year-old American said in French. “This is very special for me. I haven’t always played very well here, but I’m really happy to win the 20th here.”

The No. 1-seeded Williams took the last six games and added to her 2002 and 2013 championships on the French Open’s red clay. Those go alongside six each from the U.S. Open and Australian Open, and five from Wimbledon.

Only two players in the century-plus history of Grand Slam tennis have won more majors: Margaret Smith Court with 24, and Steffi Graf with 22.

Williams also stretched her Grand Slam winning streak to 21 matches, following titles at the U.S. Open last September and Australian Open in January. She is the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the Australian Open and French Open back-to-back and heads to Wimbledon’s grass with a chance to extend a bid to accomplish just about the only thing she hasn’t: win a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Safarova, a 28-year-old lefty with a whip-like forehand appearing in her first major final, rallied so ferociously that she opened a 2-0 lead in the third set. But Williams responded by taking six games to clinch her 20th Grand Slam title.

Still, Safarova gets another chance on Sunday, when she teams up with American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the women’s doubles final.

“I hope I will at least get one title here,” Safarova said.

Story compiled the information from The Associated Press