This week, contributor Mark Hodgkinson will take a look back at Serena Williams' 19 Grand Slam titles, bunch by bunch - today numbers six to 10.
WTA Staff

Her sixth Grand Slam title: Williams beat Venus, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the 2003 Wimbledon final:

What happened: This was Serena reasserting her dominance, over her sister, and also over the sport as a whole. A little over a fortnight before Wimbledon began, Williams had experienced her first defeat at the majors since 2001, with a loss to Justine Henin in the semifinals of the French Open. So she crossed the English Channel and went back to winning titles. For the second consecutive summer, she was presented with the Venus Rosewater Dish after defeating her sister. It wasn't exactly a fair fight, though, as Venus was suffering with an abdominal injury. Indeed, if this had been any other match - and not a Wimbledon final against a sibling - you have to imagine that Venus wouldn't have played (she was also mindful of the controversy at a tournament in Indian Wells in 2001 when she withdrew before a semifinal with her sister). Serena didn't hold back against Venus, who also had a sore hip, but playing against an injured opponent isn't always straightforward. "It tugged at my heartstrings watching Venus out there," said the Williams matriarch, Oracene. "That's what probably made it difficult for Serena at the beginning."

What Williams said: "If anything, I fought harder [because Venus was injured]. I was just telling myself, 'This is Wimbledon'. God knows if I would get the opportunity again, so I just kept telling myself that."

What her opponent said: "Serena and I, we've been blamed for lots of things that never happened. I had to at least show up and go on court. No one made any suggestions or put any pressure on me because then there gets to be even more confusion. It was definitely a decision on my own."

What others said: "Between them, the Williams sisters continue as the dominant force in women's tennis, as they underlined here in their fifth final together at the last six Grand Slam events. But individually Serena remains out there on her own," The Guardian observed.

The statistic of the match: This was the fourth consecutive Wimbledon title for the William family, following the two victories for Venus in 2000 and 2001, and then Serena's first triumph in 2002.

A memorable moment: Understandably, there wasn't much of a celebration from Serena. This final is remembered for its somber tone.

Her seventh Grand Slam title: Williams beat Davenport, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, to win the 2005 Australian Open:

What happened: Davenport certainly wasn't alone in admiring Williams for winning her first Grand Slam title since the murder of her half-sister Yetunde in 2003, and also her first since a serious knee injury that kept her away from the match court for several months in 2003 and 2004. It was the second time that Williams had won the Australian Open after staving off match points in the semifinal, having also done so against Kim Clijsters at the 2003 tournament before beating Venus in the final. This time - she was making a habit out of this - she came close to defeat against Maria Sharapova in the last four, and then dealt with a rib injury in the final against Davenport.

What Williams said: "I never thought particularly about holding a Grand Slam trophy [during her absence from the tennis circuit]. I just kind of reflected on life and what I wanted to do in my life and what was important to me. It just helps me to relax to know that I can go through that, that I can see the bigger picture and get through anything."

What her opponent said: "Serena has had a tough couple of years and she's come back like a champion. So everyone should applaud her for everything she has been through."

What others said: "This title marked a certain vindication," the Los Angeles Times observed. "Serena repeated what she had said after an earlier round, taking offence at being asked if she and her older sister Venus were in decline."

The statistic of the match: It was the first time since her maiden Slam, which had come with a victory over Martina Hingis at the 1999 US Open, that she didn't have to beat her sister to win a major.

A memorable moment: For a celebration, Williams dropped to her knees, and held her arms high above her head in triumph.

Her eighth Grand Slam title: Williams defeated Sharapova, 6-1, 6-2, to win the 2007 Australian Open:

What happened: During the changeovers, Williams looked at a piece of paper on which she had written 'Yetunde', the name of her half-sister who was murdered in Los Angeles in 2003. "Usually I write on my notes, 'Look at the ball, move forward, do this, do that', Today I just had one word. My note was just 'Yetunde'. Every changeover I looked at it and I just thought about how happy she would have been, and about what an amazing sister she was to me. I just said, 'Serena, this has to be more than enough to motivate me'. And I think it was." Ranked 81 in the world, Williams became the first unseeded champion at the Australian Open since Chris O'Neill won the 1978 title. It was her first Grand Slam title for two years. "I would like to dedicate this win to my sister who's not here any more," Williams said. "Her name is Yetunde and I still love her so much." This was the second Grand Slam title that Williams had won since Yetunde had passed away, the first being her victory at the 2005 Australian Open. But in 2005, Williams said, she hadn't been ready to speak about her sister in public, as the subject had "definitely been too raw". "I would never have been able to get one word out," she disclosed.

What Serena said: "I think I get the greatest satisfaction just from holding up the Grand Slam trophy and proving everyone wrong. I just love that. I just had so much fun out there today. I just made some great shots. It was fun."

What her opponent said: "I was just trying to find a little door opening, that maybe I could get through. You can never underestimate Serena as an opponent. I know what she's capable of and she showed that today. She's an amazing champion."

What others said: "Williams had struggled with knee problems and personal problems, fighting through depression and distractions, and slipping out of the Top 100 at one stage last year," The New York Times noted.

The statistic of the match: This was Williams' third Australian Open title, and all three victories had come under a roof (twice because of rain, once because the tournament's 'Extreme Heat Policy' had been invoked). When Williams saw that the roof was being closed for this match, she immediately thought to herself: "I'm going to win this, for sure."

A memorable moment: Williams bounded over to the side of the court to high-five her mother Oracene.

Her ninth Grand Slam title: Williams beat Jankovic, 6-4, 7-5, to win the 2008 US Open:

What happened: "Magical" is how Williams described this victory in New York City, which brought her a third US Open title, after her previous triumphs in 1999 and 2002. As part of the magic, beating Jankovic also took the American back to the top of the rankings for the first time since 2003. This was Jankovic's first appearance in a Grand Slam final, and she put up a decent showing, even holding points to take the second set, but ultimately Williams was the stronger. Almost as soon as Williams had walked off the court - and perhaps even when she was still inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium - her thoughts turned to winning a 10th Slam, as this title had left her "pushing the door to double digits".

What Serena said: "I'm so excited. This was magical. It was everything coming together like magic. I wasn't going for the No.1 ranking and it's just like an added bonus. It's that special because I've been working so hard. I can't believe I'm No.1 again, it's been so long."

What her opponent said: "Serena was a better player tonight, so congratulations to her for winning the tournament. She was just too good."

What others said: "No World No.1 in women's tennis has slogged through so desolate a valley between peaks than Serena Williams," observed the New York Times.

The statistic of the match: Conceding nine games against Jankovic meant that Williams dropped just 40 games during the fortnight

A memorable moment: On hearing how much Williams had earned for winning the tournament, Jankovic immediately wanted to know the size of the cheque for the runner-up.

Her 10th Grand Slam title: Williams defeated Safina, 6-0, 6-3, to win the 2009 Australian Open:

What happened: It was an odd year, and didn't that mean that Williams was destined to win the Australian Open? After all, her previous titles had come in 2003, 2005 and 2007. "I really wasn't feeling like it was destiny this year. I thought, 'Okay, I don't want this in my brain'. I just want to win; I just want to win seven matches," Williams was quoted as saying by The New York Times. "I wasn't thinking, 'this is it, because it's an odd year', But it happened again, which is kind of weird." It was a lop-sided final, with Serena beating her Russian opponent inside an hour to reach double figures for Grand Slam titles.

What Serena said: "I've always said that when I'm playing my best, it's very difficult to beat me, and I think that today I played close to my best because I didn't make that many errors. I don't think I've ever played a match with so few errors [seven]. I saw that stat at the end and I was like, 'Whoa'. I think the key is just doing what my dad tells me to do in practice, just technical things."

What her opponent said: "There's not much to say as I didn't spend one hour on the court. Serena played too good today - I was just a ball boy on the court."

What others said: "Serena looks deeps inside and is just determined not to lose. She really hates to lose. I think she is really taking advantage of the situation right now, because you just have so much time in a sports career, and you just want to get the best out of it," said Williams' mother, Oracene.

The statistic of the match: It was the first time she had won successive Grand Slam titles since her victories at the 2002 US Open and 2003 Australian Open.

A memorable moment: As early as Safina's opening service game - she hit three double-faults - it looked as though it would be Williams' day.


Mark Hodgkinson is the author of 'Game, Set and Match: Secret Weapons of the World's Top Tennis Players' (Bloomsbury, May 2015).