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Kerber stuns Serena Williams to win 2016 Australian Open

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In one of the biggest upsets in the history of women's tennis, 27 year old German Angelique Kerber, playing her very first Grand Slam final, stunned the 21-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams of the United States in three thrilling sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to capture the 2016 Australian Open title.

With both women chasing a piece of history tonight, Kerber aiming to become the first German to win a Grand Slam since Steffi Graf in 1999, and Williams aiming to join Graf on 22 Grand Slam titles, a tense affair was expected, but instead fans were treated to some exceptional tennis, with Kerber winning the title rather than Serena losing it.

The opening set was a tight affair with Kerber going up an early break and opening up a 3-1 lead only for Serena to storm back and level proceedings at 3-3. Kerber broke again for a 4-3 lead before consolidating it and going ahead 5-3. Williams held her serve to force Kerber to close out the opening set, and the German showed no sign of nerves, holding to love as Serena dropped a set for the first time in two weeks.

The opening three games of the second set went with serve before Serena went up 0-40 on Kerber's serve. The 7th seed saved two break points, but succumbed to the third as Serena opened up a 3-1 lead. Kerber had her chances to break right back, having a glance at the Williams serve at 0-30, but Serena closed it out to consolidate the break.

The end of the second set produced some truly exceptional rallies, but Serena had found top form and there was no stopping her from forcing this match into a decider, winning the set 6-3.

The decibel level around Rod Laver Arena reached fever pitch as Kerber came back strongly at the start of the final set, winning her opening service game before opening up a 0-40 lead on Serena's serve. Kerber was ruthless when it came to taking her chances tonight and was quickly ahead 2-0.

Any chance though that the German would run away with the third set was quickly extinguished as Serena responded by rattling off the next couple of games to level proceedings at 2-2.

Kerber stemmed the tide by holding serve for 3-2, and what followed was a titanic struggle in the 6th game that would eventually decide the match. Kerber nudged ahead 15-40, but Serena saved those two break points and two more than followed with some exceptional shot making of her own, despite the fantastic efforts of Kerber, who ran down every ball, forcing Serena to keep hitting one more shot.

A game point came Serena's way, but a gorgeous drop shot from Kerber, her second in as many games, brought her back on level terms. A fifth double fault from Serena gave Kerber a fifth break point, and this time she forced the error from Williams to sneak ahead 4-2.

Kerber cemented her position with a hold to love, and at 5-2 to match looked very much hers to lose.

Serena though never gives up and at 30-30 in the next game with Kerber two points away from the match, comes up with an ace and then another big serve to force Angelique to serve for her first Grand Slam title.

Almost predictably Kerber's serve lets her down when it matters the most and Serena hits three winners in the following game to bring the match back on serve at 4-5.

With the momentum firmly in Serena's favour, Kerber regained her poise to sneak ahead 0-30, only for Serena's biggest weapon her serve to restore the edge at 40-30 as Williams closes in on 5-5.

Kerber though wasn't ready to throw in the towel either and showed the same battling qualities she did when she came back from match-point down to beat Misaki Doi in the first round. It was the German's turn to rattle off three points in a row as Serena drifted a relatively easy shot long and Kerber collapsed in triumph, winning her maiden Grand Slam title.

A very gracious Serena shared on court after the match, "Angie - congratulations. You deserve this and I'm so happy for you. I really hope you enjoy this moment. It was remarkably fun and I really enjoyed all of this."

Kerber, predictably in tears, celebrating her greatest ever win, managed to get out a few words herself, "Congrats, Serena. You are such an inspiration," says the German. "You are a great person and congrats for everything you've done. I was match point down in the first match and I had one leg on the plane back to Germany. I got a second chance and I'm so honoured. It's my dream come. I worked for this my whole life. Now I can say I'm a Grand Slam champion. That sounds crazy."

Australian Open Women's Singles Final:

[7] Angelique Kerber d [1] Serena Williams 6-4 3-6 6-4