With her third French Open championship, Williams joins Margaret Court and Steffi Graf as the only women's tennis players in history to capture at least 20 Grand Slam titles. This victory was anything but easy, however, even if it looked to be right up to the end of the second set.
Williams, battling the flu throughout the tournament, came out firing in the first. She pushed Safarova around the court while limiting her own motion for an easy 6-3 set.
The match seemed on the brink of an early conclusion once Williams again got up a break and found herself within a point of a 5-1 edge in the second. But she double-faulted that one away, beginning an epic rally from Safarova that nearly won her the championship.
The 28-year-old Czech, playing in her first Grand Slam final, broke Williams three times in the second set, forcing a tiebreak and decisive third set.
Safarova broke Williams in her opening service game and opened a 2-0 lead, but that was the last game she won in the match.
From that point on, an extremely emotional Williams buckled down and found her extra gear once again to win the next six games and the championship.
In addition to the historical implications of her victory, Williams also becomes the first women's player to start the season with wins at the Australian and French Open since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.