World number one Serena Williams earned her 20th grand slam singles victory on Saturday, with a tight victory over Lucie Safarova at the French Open 6-3 6-7(2) 6-2. The two hour and one minute match was grueling for the hard-hitting American, as she struggled to put away her feisty opponent.
Despite being up a set and two breaks, Williams began to falter against the Czech star. Safarova led by a break in the decider but Williams battled to win the next six games.
"This is by far the most dramatic [major title I've won]," Williams said, after claiming on Friday that she was battling sickness. "I didn't even train yesterday; I've had the flu. It's just been a nightmare."
Williams appeared frustrated by some of the long points. She appeared interested in trying to win early points, but Safarova wouldn't budge. A resilient Williams managed to fight through some difficult stretches to close out Safarova in the third set.
"It's been a great two weeks here for me," Safarova said, playing in her first grand slam final.
"Serena you were amazing, you are a great player and a great fighter."
Williams has cut into open-ear leader Steffi Graf's 22 singles titles. Margaret Court won 24 titles between 1960 and 1973.