LONDON (AP) — Game. Set. Serena Slam.
Serena Williams overcame a slow start, eight double-faults and a nervy finish to beat Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday for her sixth Wimbledon title, fourth Grand Slam championship in a row and 21st major overall.
The win means Williams holds all four Grand Slam titles at once — completing the second “Serena Slam” of her career. What’s more, she secured the third leg of a calendar-year Grand Slam and, if she wins the U.S. Open, will become the first player to sweep all four majors in the same season since Steffi Graf in 1988.
Williams, winning her 28th straight Grand Slam match, is now just one major title behind Graf on the Open era list and two behind all-time leader Margaret Court.
At 33, Williams is also the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era. She has now won eight major championships in her 30s.
Williams was broken in the opening game by the 21-year-old Spaniard, who was playing in her first Grand Slam final, and fell behind 4-2. But Williams began playing more aggressively and ran off five straight games to take the set and go up 1-0 in the second.
Williams pulled out to a 5-1 lead and looked ready to finish Muguruza off quickly. But she seemed to get tight, and was broken twice while serving for the match.
Muguruza saved a match point and converted on her fifth break point to draw within 5-4. But Williams then broke at love in the next game to close out the match, which finished in anticlimactic fashion when Muguruza hit a forehand wide.
Neither player seemed to realize the match was over, and there was an awkward delay before Williams covered her face with both hands, then smiled and raised her arms in the air. After the two players hugged at the net, Williams hopped up and down on the side of the court with her arms above her head.
She later accepted the winner’s trophy — the Venus Rosewater Dish — from the Duke of Kent.
Williams hasn’t lost in a Grand Slam since falling in the third round to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon last year. Since then, she won last year’s U.S. Open and this year’s Australian and French Opens before completing the set at Wimbledon.
Williams extended her winning streak in Grand Slam finals to 10 and improved her overall record in major finals to 21-4, including 6-2 at Wimbledon.
Williams was the last player to win four majors in a row, when she achieved her first “Serena Slam” by taking the 2002 French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open and the 2003 Australian Open.
Apart from Graf, only two women have completed a calendar-year Grand Slam — Maureen Connolly in 1953 and Court in 1970. Martina Navratilova also won four straight majors in 1983-84.
Williams’ sixth Wimbledon singles title puts her third on the Open era list behind Navratilova with nine and Graf with seven.
Sunday’s men’s final pits defending champion Novak Djokovic against seven-time winner Roger Federer. It’s a repeat of last year’s championship match, won by Djokovic in five sets. Federer is aiming for a record eighth Wimbledon trophy and an 18th Grand Slam title, while Djokovic is chasing a third title at the All England Club and ninth major.