Serena Williams wins French Open, 20th Grand Slam of career

Serena Williams won the 2015 French Open by defeating Lucie Safarova in three sets.

Serena Williams is French Open champion once again. The three-time winner of the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen defeated Lucie Safarova in three sets, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2.

Williams’ play in the final was a far cry from the rest of her tournament. She started sluggishly throughout this year’s French Open, dropping the first set in four of her first five matches, before closing strongly. On Saturday, Williams came out of the gate strong, controlled tempo and pushed Safarova all around Court Philippe Chatrier in the first set before showing fatigue.

In the second set, No. 13 Safarova dug deep, broke Williams and changed the momentum of the match. With her back against the wall, Safarova was able to force a tiebreak, at which point she ran away with the set (owning the tiebreak, 7-2). A combination of Williams’ serve faltering, and Safarova’s exemplary court-coverage played into the hands of the challenger.

Safarova carried her momentum in the third set by breaking Williams’ opening service game and then going up two games to love by holding serve. And then, much like in her semifinals match against Timea Bacsinszky, Williams flipped the switch and kicked into the kind of gear you only see from champions. She held serve, broke back and proceeded to overpower Safarova for six consecutive games en route to her 20th Grand Slam title.

Give Safarova credit. After one set, the final appeared to be all but Serena’s. The gutsy Czech not only gave Williams a run, but even appeared in the driver’s seat for her first Grand Slam singles title after going up 2-0 in the third. Alas, the day was not to be hers. After failing to drop a set in the run up to Saturday, she was simply outmatched in the final by a better player. Safarova still has a shot for French Open glory, as she and teammate Bethanie Mattek-Sands will play in the women’s doubles final on Sunday.

The win now gives Serena 20 Grand Slam titles, which ranks her third all-time. She sits behind Margaret Court (24) and Stefi Graf (22) on the all-time list, and behind only Graf for players from the Open Era.

Winner of the past three majors, Williams will vie for her second ever “Serena Slam” at Wimbledon later this summer. The third French Open title gives Williams her third career complete Grand Slam.