Angelique Kerber played the match of her life on the biggest stage of her career to win the final of the Australian Open on Saturday, putting a German back among the world’s best tennis players.
Her Grand Slam victory over Serena Williams, the world’s number one women’s tennis player, catapults the 28-year-old German into number two in the global rankings after being seeded seventh. And it adds a new chapter to German Grand Slam history.
“I’m now a part of (Open-era) history,” Ms. Kerber told reporters two hours after she left the court, still visibly in disbelief after beating Ms. Williams 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in a thrilling two-hour match, her first-ever Grand Slam final. “A dream has come true, and I worked hard at it.”
The stunning win proved doubly-sweet for Germany as it prevented Ms. Williams from tying a German legend, Steffi Graf, for the most-ever Grand Slam victories.
The performance earned Ms. Kerber, known as Angie, the praise of another German occasionally referred to by the same name in the media – Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was quick to send her congratulations.
“With this victory, you have not only fulfilled your own biggest dream, but also, once again, 17 years after Steffi Graf, the hopes of millions of tennis fans of a German winning a Grand Slam tournament,” Ms. Merkel said in a statement. “It was fascinating to see how courageously and, with such nerves of steel, how you prevailed in the final against arguably the best player in the world. I hope you enjoy the victory fully and go on to many more.”