All was set for it to be the day Serena Williams completed a remarkable comeback and claimed a record-matching 24th Grand Slam title but Angelique Kerber shattered the script to outclass her 6-3 6-3 in Saturday’s Wimbledon final.
Ten months after the difficult birth of daughter Alexis Olympia, the 36-year-old mom had powered into her 10th Wimbledon final and looked poised for an eighth crown.
But even for the most prolific title collector in the professional era it proved a step too far as Kerber took full advantage of an error-strewn display by the American.
Kerber broke the mighty tennis queen Williams serve three times in the opening set and again in the sixth game of the second and held her nerve to become the first German woman to win the title since Steffi Graf in 1996.
With compatriot Meghan Markle, whose marriage to Britain’s Prince Harry Serena attended this year, watching from the Royal Box the stage seemed set for another memorable day in the fairytale career of Williams.
She was bidding to become only the fourth mum to win a Grand Slam title in the professional era and the first at Wimbledon since Evonne Goolagong beat Chris Evert in 1980.
Her 10th Wimbledon final ended in disappointment though.
When a Williams backhand hit the net the 30-year-old Kerber, who has now won three Grand Slams, collapsed on the dusty baseline before running to the net for a warm embrace with Williams who she lost to in the 2016 Wimbledon final.
“It’s a dream come true, Serena you are a great person and champion, such an inspiration for everyone watching,” Kerber said on Centre Court.
“I’m sure you’ll win your next Grand Slam soon so congratulations for coming back.”
Williams was close to tears as the crowd applauded her remarkable efforts.
“To all the mums out there, I was playing for you today, and I tried but Angelique played really well, she played out of her mind,” Williams, playing only her fourth tournament since returning to the Tour, said.