by Chris Chase
Twenty-one down, seven to go.
Overcoming some early and late nerves, Serena Williams charged to her sixth Wimbledon title on Saturday, dispatching first-time finalist Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4 to win the first three legs of the 2015 Grand Slam, becoming the first woman to achieve that since Steffi Graf in 1988. The win moved Serena to a staggering 21-4 in major finals and a stunning 46-7 in Grand Slam semifinals and finals.
Serena is just the third woman to ever win the first three legs of the Slam. Both the other players – Graf in ’88 and Margaret Court in 1970 — would go on to win the Calendar Slam in New York. The 33-year-old Serena will look to join that elusive club one week after Labor Day in New York.
How big is this quest for the calendar Slam? It renders another accomplishment from Saturday — the Serena Slam (holding all four major titles at the same time) — almost secondary. This is the second time Serena has pulled this in her career and it’s a historic, impressive feat in its own right. But that’s how big the ultimate calendar quest is. Something that’s momentous in its own right is mostly forgotten due to the larger task at hand.
Also overshadowed: On Sunday, Serena became the oldest player to ever win Wimbledon, though that record may last one day, depending on Roger Federer’s result tomorrow. That 21st title also puts her one back of Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slams. If Serena were to tie this mark in New York, it’d be a mere footnote to a Slam win, which once again speaks to the tennis odyssey on which Serena finds herself.
Will she get there? Cliched as it may be, this is entirely on her racket. Yes, Serena has won an unbelievable 13 of the last 25 Grand Slams and four of the last four, but she preceded this run with three losses before the quarterfinals, in rounds two, three and four, respectively. She’s anything but a sure thing, which won’t stop many fans and press from viewing the Slam as a foregone conclusion, even though a portion of these most recent 21 wins have been anything but.
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