On This Day in 2015: A 20th grand slam title for Serena Williams

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Serena Williams won a third French Open title and her 20th grand slam on this day in 2015 after beating Lucie Safarova in three sets to be crowned champion at Roland Garros.

Williams had been hampered by illness in the lead-up to the Paris showpiece but the world number one showed her mettle to hold off a Safarova fightback and win 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2.

It left Williams, who won the Australian Open the previous January, two short of Steffi Graf’s 22 major titles and four away from Margaret Court’s all-time best 24.

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While Williams was playing her 24th major final, it was Safarova’s first, and
the Czech pushed her world number one opponent to the limit in an enthralling
contest.

All the talk in the build-up to the match had been about Williams’ health after
the American spluttered her way through a semi-final victory against Timea
Bacsinszky.

World number one at the time, Williams said she was suffering from severe symptoms of flu and took a bathroom break before play even started, asking to leave the court for a short time after the knock-up.

But any extra encouragement Safarova had drawn from Williams’ pre-match problems were extinguished as the American wrapped up another grand slam triumph in two hours and one minute.

Williams will be bidding for her eighth Wimbledon singles title this summer
Williams will be bidding for her eighth Wimbledon singles title this summer (John Walton/PA)

Williams became only the third person to win each grand slam at least three times after Court and Graff and later that summer went on to win all four grand slams in a row by defeating Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-4 at Wimbledon.

After defending her Wimbledon crown in 2016, Williams won her 23rd grand slam singles title at the 2017 Australian Open, beating sister Venus in the final, and surpassing Graf’s open era record.

At the current French Open, Williams is bidding to equal Court’s record and plays Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina in the fourth round on Sunday.

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