LONDON (Reuters) - Angelique Kerber powered past an error-prone Serena Williams 6-3 6-3 in the Wimbledon final on Saturday to become the first German player since Steffi Graf in 1996 to lift the crown at the All England Club.
Williams, playing in her 10th Wimbledon final and seeking a 24th Grand Slam crown of her career following her return from maternity leave, struggled to match Kerber’s intensity and lost in just 65 minutes.
“It’s a dream come true, Serena you are a great person and champion, such an inspiration for everyone watching,” Kerber, who lost the 2016 final at Wimbledon to the American, said on Centre Court.
“I’m sure you’ll win your next Grand Slam soon so congratulations for coming back.”
Earlier, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reached the men’s final for the fifth time in his career as he overcame Rafael Nadal 6-4 3-6 7-6(9) 3-6 10-8 in a match carried over from Friday.
Djokovic, three-times Wimbledon champion, will take on South African Kevin Anderson in Sunday’s final.
“I’m really pleased. I was very emotional after the match because it’s been a long 15 months for me, trying to overcome different obstacles,” Djokovic said.
“So to be where I am at the moment is quite satisfying.”
Highlights from day 12 of the Wimbledon championships on Saturday (times GMT):
Mike Bryan won his 17th Grand Slam doubles title, his first not partnering twin brother Bob who was injured, along with fellow American Jack Sock as they beat Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 6-3 6-7(7) 6-3 5-7 7-5 in three hours and 39 minutes.
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Third seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova defeated the pair of Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke 6-4 4-6 6-0 in 89 minutes to win the women’s doubles title.
The Czech pair won their first major crown at the French Open last month.
Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber said that it was “amazing” to become the first German player to claim the Venus Rosewater dish since Steffi Graf in 1996.
“I knew I had to play my best tennis against Serena. It’s my second chance (in the final). I’m the next German after Steffi to win, it’s amazing.”
Beaten Wimbledon finalist Serena Williams said she was playing “for all the mums out there” after losing to an inspired opponent in Angelique Kerber.
The 36-year-old American returned to the tour this season after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia and became first mother in 38 years to reach the final at the All England Club.
“For all the mums out there I was playing for you today, I tried. Angelique played out of her mind. She’s an incredible person and a really good friend so I’m really happy for her, Williams said.
Angelique Kerber became the first German player since Steffi Graf in 1996 to lift the Wimbledon title, beating seven-times winner Serena Williams 6-3 6-3.
Contesting her first major singles final of the season and second at the All England Club, Kerber hardly put a foot wrong as she prevailed in 65 minutes.
Rafael Nadal had no complaints and said the better player had prevailed on the day after his defeat by Novak Djokovic in a thrilling men’s semi-final.
“Normally I am very critical of myself. I hit great shots. I played aggressive... nothing to complain. I have not much more inside me. I give it my best. It’s fair to say that was a great match and he beat me. Well done to him. That’s sport.”
Angelique Kerber countered Serena Williams’ aggression to take the opening set of the final 6-3. The 11th-seeded German is looking for her first win over Williams since beating the American in the final of the 2016 Australian Open.
The women’s singles final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber began on Centre Court.
American Williams, a seven-times Wimbledon champion, defeated Kerber the last time the pair met, in the title clash at the All England Club in 2016.
Novak Djokovic overcame a determined Rafael Nadal 6-4 3-6 7-6(9) 3-6 10-8 in five hours and 15 minutes to reach his fifth Wimbledon final and first since last winning the crown in 2015.
Djokovic, three times a champion at the All England Club, will take on South African Kevin Anderson on Sunday.
“It’s hard to pick the words, I am just going through things, flashbacks to the last 14 months and everything I’ve done to get here to the final against one of the best players in the world, one of the longest matches of my career. I am overwhelmed,” Djokovic said.
Nadal won the fourth set 6-3 to drag the contest into a decider. The Spaniard has prevailed in all four previous encounters against Djokovic in the semi-finals of a major.
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Play resumed in the men’s singles semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Spaniard Rafa Nadal under the roof on Centre Court.
Djokovic led the second seed 6-4 3-6 7-6(9) before play was suspended on Friday after the 2200 GMT deadline was reached.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Clare Fallon and Ed Osmond