LONDON (Reuters) - Sometimes, your best simply isn’t good enough.
It was a lesson Angelique Kerber learned the hard way on Saturday as no matter what the German did on court, she was powerless to prevent the unstoppable force that is Serena Williams from running away with the Venus Rosewater Dish.
The 7-5 6-3 final victory not only handed the American a seventh Wimbledon title, it also finally gave her the elusive 22nd grand slam title that drew her level with Steffi Graf’s professional era record.
“I went out there today to win the match. I tried everything... but Serena was serving unbelievable today,” said Australian Open champion Kerber, who had blocked the American’s path to a 22nd slam title in January’s Melbourne Park final.
“I played my best so what else could I do? She really played an unbelievable match. She’s a great opponent, a great person, a great champion,” said the fourth seed.
Kerber played great too and was even applauded by her rival in the fourth game of the second set when she finished off a 15-stroke end-to-end baseline rally by curling in a blazing backhand winner despite almost running off into the side stands.
At 3-3, Kerber earned a break point but that disappeared within the blink of an eye as Williams fired down a 117 mph ace.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for Kerber.
“I had one break point and I couldn’t do anything,” said the 28-year-old, who was seeking to become the first German woman to win the title since her idol Graf 20 years ago.
“She was just going for it. She’s a tough opponent when she’s playing like today.”
While Kerber fell one victory short of her target, reaching the Wimbledon final gave the German the belief that she has it in her to win more slams following her French Open nightmare.
Seven weeks ago Kerber was left distraught after she suffered a shock defeat by Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens in the opening round of Roland Garros in her first match at a major since joining the grand slam winners’ club in Australia.
“I‘m proud about what I did (at Wimbledon), especially after (what happened in) Paris,” said Kerber who will rise to a career-high second in the world when the new rankings are released on Monday.
“I know I have the game, all the experience to win a few more grand slams. I know how to get here. I hope that I will reach a few more finals and maybe win a few more grand slams.”
So having had the best seat in the house as Williams made history, did she think she could one day dominate the game like the American?
“It’s tough to follow in her footsteps. I‘m going my own way. It’s one of my goals one day to be the number one... but it’s still a long way (away). For now, it’s just a great feeling to be in my second grand slam final.”
Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ken Ferris