Serena Williams claimed her 20th Grand Slam title with a three-set win over Lucie Safarova ©Getty Images

American world number one Serena Williams claimed her 20th Grand Slam title as she overcame her illness to beat the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova in a thrilling three-set final at Roland Garros in Paris.

Much of the talk before the showpiece match had been about the health of Williams, who has complained of illness throughout the tournament, but she showed little sign of being under the weather as she raced to take the opening set 6-3 in less than half an hour.

Williams, seeking a third French Open crown, looked to have the match all sewn up when she surged into a 4-1 lead into the second set.

But Safarova, competing in her first-ever Grand Slam final, launched a spirited fightback by claiming four straight games and broke the American when she served for the match at 6-5.

Safarova was finding her rhythm and banished her nerves to clinch the second set on a tie-break and send the women’s final at Roland Garros into a decider for only the third time in 15 years.

Williams however came out for the crucial third set with renewed vigour, dominating with her powerful shots from the baseline to seal an eventual 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 victory.

She is now just two Grand Slam titles behind Germany’s Steffi Graf and few would back against her reducing that deficit at Wimbledon.

Serbian Novak Djokovic battled through to the men's final after being Andy Murray in five sets
Serbian Novak Djokovic battled through to the men's final after being Andy Murray in five sets ©Getty Images

Earlier in the day, Serbia’s world number one Novak Djokovic maintained his quest for a career Grand Slam as he claimed a dramatic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 victory over Andy Murray of Britain.

Resuming with an overnight two sets to one lead after storms forced the players off yesterday evening, Djokovic found himself being overpowered from the baseline by Murray in the opening exchanges.

Many thought Murray’s chances had been scuppered by the suspension of play last night but he came out and demonstrated his vast catalogue of groundstrokes and broke the Djokovic serve before wrapping up the fourth set to send the fascinating contest into a decider.

But the Serb, winner of 10 of the previous 11 meetings between the two Grand Slam champions, seemingly banished those demons and stepped up his game once again, and in truth Murray just could not live with the sheer power and accuracy of the world number one.

He will however take solace in how he pushed the Serbian to his limits, particularly in the third and fourth sets, but in the end the decisive fifth was largely a non-event as Djokovic booked his place in the final, where he will come up against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland tomorrow.

Related stories
June 2015: 
Wawrinka reaches French Open final as Djokovic's last four clash with Murray is suspended
June 2015: Serena Williams overcomes illness to move into French Open final
June 2015: Djokovic ends Nadal's French Open reign with superb straight sets victory
June 2015: Wawrinka claims maiden Grand Slam win over compatriot Federer to reach last four at French Open
June 2015: Sharapova stunned at Roland Garros but men's favourites progress to quarter-finals