Number 24 will have to wait.
With an opportunity to tie Margaret Court's Grand Slam record on Saturday, Serena Williams came up short against Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon. Kerber was in the driver's seat all match, breaking Williams' serve four times and having her serve broken just once.
Kerber won 6-3, 6-3, in a match that was never really in doubt.
The match started out on Kerber's terms. Electing to receive the opening serve, Kerber broke Williams' serve to go up 1-0. Williams was able to break Kerber's serve for the first and only time in the fourth game of the set to tie it 2-2. From then on, however, it was all Kerber. She closed out the first set by breaking Williams' last two serves, ultimately winning five games in a row.
Williams struggled on her second serve, winning it only 31 percent of the time. And while Kerber's serve wasn't dominant, it was controlled, which made all the difference. Only 65 percent of her first serves stayed in, but she won 59 percent of her second serves.
It was an incredible run for Williams, but the change in level of competition showed. Williams didn't play a ranked player until Julia Gorges in the semifinals, where she dominated. However, Kerber wasn't going to be denied her third Grand Slam, and she's the best player Williams played all tournament. This year has been the best year of Kerber's career outside of 2016, and its peak is now becoming the first German player to win at Wimbledon.
For the 36-year-old Williams, however, there's a ton to be optimistic about. She's just 10 months removed from having a baby and it's only her second major back from a pregnancy that kept her out of tennis for more than a year. She's 9-2 in that span. One of those losses was a retirement at the French Open, and the other was in a Grand Slam final. At this point, No. 24 feels like an inevitability. She cried after the match, saying that she was "happy to get this far. All the moms out there. I was playing for you today. I tried," per Jill Adge.
However, even though No. 24 still could come, Saturday was about No. 3. It's Kerber's third Grand Slam, and she'll catapult from No. 11 up to No. 4 in the WTA rankings. She showed that 2018 is her year, and she made it to at least the quarterfinals in the Australian and French Opens. Now a Wimbledon champion, she just needs a win at Roland Garros to net the tennis cycle.
You can relive every moment in our live blog below.