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Best of 2016: Serena wins record-tying 22nd Slam

December 18, 2016 08:40 PM

As 2016 draws to a close, USTA.com is taking a look back at the top storylines, headlines and highlights from the year in American tennis. Visit our Year in Review homepage to see our complete Top 10.

By Jackie Finn, USTA.com

The best player of her generation took another step toward becoming the best of all time in 2016, with Serena Williams chasing down Steffi Graf with her record-tying 22nd Grand Slam singles title.

Serena looked like she might match the Open era record for most Slam singles titles early in the season, but uncharacteristic losses in the finals of the Australian Open and French Open denied her place in tennis history. So it was on Wimbledon’s fabled green lawns where No. 22 finally became a reality.  

Serena would drop just one set in her seven matches at the All England Club – a tiebreak to fellow American Christina McHale in the second round – ousting No. 13 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 21 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before blitzing a third Russian, Elena Vesnina, 6-2, 6-0, to advance to her third Slam final of the season. This time she did not falter, earning the title by defeating Angelique Kerber, 7-5, 6-3, in a rematch of the Australian Open final just six months earlier.

It was Williams’ seventh Wimbledon singles title overall, and her second in a row. In addition to those seven London crowns, Williams also owns six titles at the US Open, three at the French and six in Australia, for her total of 22.   

She now stands behind only Margaret Court’s 24 for the most Grand Slam titles of all time.