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Serena Williams holds all 4 major championships

Howard Fendrich Associated Press
LONDON – Serena Williams let herself briefly bask in the joy of a sixth Wimbledon championship, 21st Grand Slam singles trophy overall and fourth consecutive major title Saturday, even balancing the winner’s silver dish atop her head – Look, Ma, no hands! – as she sauntered off Centre Court. “I was peaceful, feeling really good,” Williams said. “Maybe a little after that, I started thinking about New York.” On to the next one. When the U.S. Open begins at Flushing Meadows in August, Williams will pursue pretty much the only accolade to elude her so far: a calendar-year Grand Slam, something no one has accomplished in tennis in more than a quarter-century. She will arrive there having won her past 28 matches at major tournaments, the latest coming at the All England Club on Saturday, when the No. 1-seeded Williams put aside an early deficit and a late lull, closing out a 6-4, 6-4 victory over No. 20 Garbine Muguruza of Spain. It’s Williams’ second self-styled “Serena Slam” of four majors in a row; she also did it in 2002-03. “I’ve been trying to win four in a row for 12 years, and it hasn’t happened. I’ve had a couple injuries. You know, it’s been an up-and-down process,” Williams said. “I honestly can’t say that last year or two years ago or even five years ago I would have thought that I would have won four in a row.” At 33, she is the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era of professional tennis, and it comes 16 years after her first, at the 1999 U.S. Open. Only Maureen Connolly in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970, and Steffi Graf in 1988 have won all four majors in a single season. And only Court (24) and Graf (an Open-era record 22) own more Grand Slam singles titles than Williams. Her collection includes a half-dozen trophies each from Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Australian Open, and three from the French Open. “I just never dreamt I would be out here still,” Williams said, “let alone winning.” Maybe the most telling statistic about Williams’ ability to turn it up a notch when the spotlight is brightest is this: Her record in major semifinals and finals is 47-7. The win made her 21-4 in Slam title matches; it was the 21-year-old Muguruza’s first major final. In the first game Saturday, Williams contributed three double-faults – she would have eight – and missed a forehand and a backhand long to get broken. Less than a half-hour in, Muguruza led 4-2. Then Williams had a 20-minute burst of brilliance, grabbing five straight games and nine of 10. Suddenly, Williams was up a set and 5-1 in the second. But she got broken at love to make it 5-2. After Muguruza held, Williams served for it again, and was broken again. Now it was 5-4. But the finish was anticlimactic, with Muguruza missing a forehand to get broken at love. Both women stood still, neither realizing it was over. Soon enough, though, Williams was telling a teary-eyed Muguruza: “Don’t be sad, you’ll be holding this trophy very, very soon, believe me.” For now, Williams is keeping all the hardware to herself.
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