- Serena Williams beat Lucie Safarova 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 to win her third French Open title at Roland Garros in Paris
- American No 1 seed was pushed hard by her Czech opponent, who was appearing in her first Grand Slam final
Beyond the health mysteries and swearing controversies it is impossible to argue with the achievements of the extraordinary Serena Williams.
Surfing on a tide of industrial language and self-recrimination, she spurred herself on to fight off the brave challenge of Lucie Safarova and claim the French Open title with a 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2 victory, her 20th Grand Slam win.
Repeatedly dropping the F-bomb, admittedly in her own direction, she came back from 2-0 down in the deciding set to win for the third time at Roland Garros.
Not until after the fifth game of the deciding set did French umpire Emmanuel Joseph give her a code violation for her audible obscenities, but then it was not the first time we have seen top players treated leniently in the final here.
Twelve months ago Kader Nouni spent more than two hours ignoring Maria Sharapova’s repeated stalling of Simona Halep before giving her a warning, and there was something of a parallel.
She is that combination of immense physical talent and extraordinary desire to win, and remains far ahead of the field.
This was her third Grand Slam title in succession and by the end of Wimbledon she could hold all four. While it is a testament to her remarkable abilities, that potential scenario also raises questions about the quality of the opposition, given her virus and that she will be 34 in September.
As she had fallen behind a set in four previous rounds before coming back to win, there may have been alarm bells when she took the first set.
She was far the steadier in taking the tiebreak, 7-2, and by now the Williams mouth was in full flow, at one point telling herself ‘You f***ing suck’.
The younger sibling knows what she has to do to extract maximum performance and it seemed to work.
Safarova went 2-0 up in the deciding set but then tightened up and the American romped away with the last six games.
Speaking in French at the presentation ceremony, someone called out from the crowd, asking if she would marry them. ‘Not now,’ Serena replied. She obviously has more pressing things to do and that might involve sweeping the majors in 2015.
Williams said it had been a ‘nightmare 48 hours’ and insisted she was close to pulling out.
‘I didn’t leave bed until four or five o’clock yesterday, I was really bad last night. I hit a bit this morning and hit them pretty well. After that I just went out to play the match.’
She did not apologise for her language but said: ‘I got so frustrated, I was giving the match to her. I had to pull it together.’