In pictures: Serena Williams' 22 Grand Slam wins

Reem Abulleil 9/07/2016

There was a touch of symbolism in the way Serena Williams avenged her Australian Open final defeat to Angelique Kerber by overcoming the German 7-5, 6-3 to win a seventh Wimbledon title and equal Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 grand slams.

Serena wrapped up her 81-minute victory with a forehand volley winner at the net, the same shot she missed to lose that Melbourne final to Kerber six months ago.

It was Serena’s 16th successful point at the net on Saturday, out of 22 played up front.

In front of a star-studded audience that included superstars Beyonce and Jay-Z, who were sitting with Serena’s family in her box, legends like Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Margaret Court in the Royal Box, alongside American comedian Ellen Degeneres, and Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba elsewhere in the stands, the top seed defended her Wimbledon crown, making history in the process.

Serena had been chasing Graf’s record for the past three majors, losing in the US Open semi-finals last year and the Australian and French Open finals this season.

“I had a couple of tries this year… it makes the victory even sweeter to know how hard I worked for it,” said a smiling Serena on court.

It was the first time in a decade that the same two women faced off in a grand slam final in the same season. It meant that Serena and Kerber knew what to expect from one another from the get-go and the pair provided such a high-quality clash the score line will never do justice.

Bidding to become the first German to win a Wimbledon title since Steffi Graf in 1996, Kerber saved three break points to hold for 1-1 early on.

Serena was in peak-serving mode but Kerber finally managed to put some pressure on the American for the first time in game seven. But Serena weathered the storm.

The 34-year-old Serena took a tumble in game nine but still managed to hold for 5-4.

Serving to stay in the set for a second time, at 5-6, Kerber encountered some serious heavy-hitting from Serena to drop the first point.

Serena got her hands on two break/set points on a long ball from Kerber. The German saved the first with a forehand up at the net but could not do much on the second as Serena struck a huge backhand that sent Kerber well off the court. A bellowing ‘come on’ followed as the defending champion took a one-set lead.

The world No1 hit 24 winners in that opening set, won 88 per cent of the points on her first serve, faced zero break points and was an impressive 10/12 at the net.

By the fourth game of the second set, both players had reached new heights in terms of ball-striking and intensity.

Kerber finally got her first break point on the Serena serve

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Glamour: Heidi Klum.

The further we go into the tournament here at the All England Club, the more interesting – and random – the faces in the stands become and Friday was no exception.

While actor Bradley Cooper and his model girlfriend Irina Shayk are repeat visitors, with Cooper making clear where his allegiances lie dressed in RF merchandise, a surprise attendee was supermodel Heidi Klum and boyfriend Vito Schnabel were sitting in Milos Raonic’s box during his semi-final with Roger Federer.

We’re not sure where the Raonic-Klum connection is. It could be that Raonic, who is a huge art enthusiast, knows Schnabel, who is an art dealer, or that Raonic’s model girlfriend Danielle Knudson is a contemporary of Klum’s.

After the match, the lawns outside the Players’ Restaurant resembled a backstage scene at London Fashion Week, rather than a hangout area at a tennis club. Cooper spent some time chatting to Federer’s wife Mirka, before he found an empty spot on the grass to sit on the ground and chill with Shayk.

Jude Law was also in the stands on Friday, so was fellow British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and his model girlfriend Frances Aaternir.

I get particularly excited when I see some of the former players around the grounds – the ones who aren’t coaches and do not play in the Legend’s events, meaning they aren’t regular faces at the slams.

Americans James Blake and Amer Delic showed up, so did Croatian Mario Ancic, who now works in investment banking in New York.

Ancic has always been regarded as one of the nicest guys on tour and on Friday he reminded us all why. He walked into the main room at the press centre, past several aisles before heading straight to Italian journalist Gianni Clerici.

“Grande Gianni,” Ancic told the 86-year-old as he gave him a hearty hug. Nice to see that some things never change.

Delic tweeted a photo from Henman Hill, where it seems he watched the semi-finals.

Can’t someone spare him a pair of Centre Court tickets? He did take Novak Djokovic to four sets here in the second round in 2007 after all.

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