Against Williams, she won the first set with her signature shot: a forehand winner down the line. And when Kerber served for the match, Williams threw up a high defensive shot at 30-30 that landed deep, a shot that required Kerber to generate the pace. She did not shrink from the responsibility. She coolly nailed another forehand down the line that landed on the opposite baseline with a puff of chalk for another winner.
When Williams lost the next point, the final point, with a backhand return into the net, Kerber dropped her racket, pitched forward onto her knees and began to cry as she lay on the grass and the dirt.
She and Williams soon met on Kerber’s side of the net for an extended embrace.
This is becoming a Grand Slam tradition, this contrast of styles. And Kerber has now won two of their three duels in major finals: defeating Williams in the 2016 Australian Open final, losing to Williams in the 2016 Wimbledon final and winning on Saturday.
Kerber, who also won the United States Open in 2016, owns titles at three of the four Grand Slam events, lacking only the French Open.
Williams has won all four majors at least three times, but, for now, her total remains at 23 — one short of Court’s record.
“It’s a huge thing for her, coming back after the last few months to being in the final,” Kerber said. “For sure she was trying to do everything to beat me today, but I’m sure she will take her next Grand Slam and she will make history for sure.”
Fissette, who has now coached five players who have beaten Williams, said he felt her relatively easy draw, in which she faced no seeded players in the first five rounds, might have made it difficult for her to find the necessary gear on Saturday.