Serena tops Venus in straight-sets final
WIMBLEDON, England -- Serena Williams fell to her knees on the grass, eyes closed, arms raised, and threw back her head.
After six years, it was her turn to hold up the Venus Rosewater Dish again.
In the fourth all-Williams final at Wimbledon, Serena beat her sister Venus 7-6 (3), 6-2 on Saturday for her third title and 11th Grand Slam championship.
"It feels so amazing," Serena said. "I'm so blessed. I feel like I shouldn't be holding the trophy. I can't believe I'm holding it. It's named for Venus and she always wins."
Serena came out on top by out-serving her big sister, lifting her game in the tiebreaker and dictating play throughout the second set, finally winning when five-time champion Venus slapped a backhand into the net on the fourth match point.
Serena beat Venus in the 2002 and '03 finals, before Venus prevailed in last year's championship match. Venus was trying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1991-93 to win Wimbledon three years in a row.
Still, the Williams sisters proved their dominance at the All England Club once more, winning their eighth singles title this decade. As always with Williams vs. Williams matches, the celebrations were relatively muted. The sisters embraced at the net, with the 29-year-old Venus patting 27-year-old Serena on the back.
"I didn't think about Venus at all today," Serena said. "I just saw her as an opponent. At one point, after the first set, I looked on the side of the court at the stats, and it was like 'Williams, Williams.' I couldn't figure out which was which."
The sisters were due back on Centre Court later for the women's doubles final, where they will face Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs of Australia. They're seeking their fourth Wimbledon doubles title and 10th Grand Slam crown.
Venus had come into the final as the favorite after playing some of the best grass-court tennis of her career. She hadn't dropped a set in 17 straight matches at Wimbledon, but couldn't cope on this day with the fierce competitive drive and relentless power game of her sister.
"This is one of the few times I didn't expect to come out with the win today," Serena said. "When I won that first set, I was like, 'Wow, this is great. No matter what, I'm a set away.' So I was just trying to relax."
The statistics summed up Serena's superiority: She had 12 aces, 25 winners and 12 unforced errors, compared to two aces, 14 winners and 18 unforced mistakes for Venus.
"She played great, especially in the tiebreak," Venus said. "I would just play a good shot and she'd just hit a winner off of it or put me in a position where she could hit another winner. I played a good tiebreak, but she played a great one."
Serena now has an 11-10 edge overall and is 6-2 in Grand Slam finals against her sister. She currently holds three of the major titles -- the U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon -- and is one Slam win away from tying Billie Jean King at sixth all-time.
"It's unbelievable," Serena said. "I feel like now I'm just not even in a competition of how many I can win. It's just now I'm looking at the next goal of someone like Billie Jean King, who is completely my idol. To get to her level and have 12 would be even better."
Serena said she found no particular significance in stopping her sister from taking a third straight Wimbledon crown.
"She's won seven Grand Slams on her own, five being Wimbledon," Serena said. "You can't compare that, because she's a living legend right now."
Despite her dominance on the big stages, Serena will stay at No. 2 in the world rankings behind Dinara Safina. The Russian reached the top spot this year even though she has never won a Grand Slam title. She was routed 6-1, 6-0 by Venus in the Wimbledon semifinals.
"I think if you hold three Grand Slam titles maybe you should be No. 1, but not on the WTA Tour obviously," Serena said.
"My motivation is maybe just to win another Grand Slam and stay No. 2, I guess," she added with a laugh. "I'd rather definitely be No. 2 and hold three Grand Slams in the past year than be No. 1 and not have any."
Serena became the second player in the Open era to win the Wimbledon women's title after overcoming a match point, having done so in the semifinals against Elena Dementieva. The only other player to do it was Venus, who saved one in the 2005 final against Lindsay Davenport.
On a sunny, breezy day, there was little to separate the sisters for most of the first set, though Venus failed to convert her chances to break in the eighth game. Serving at 15-40, Serena saved the first break point with a second serve into the body that forced a backhand error from Venus. On the second, Venus went for a forehand passing shot that landed just wide of the line. Serena then hit back-to-back aces to take the game.
Serena dominated the tiebreaker, increasing her intensity and grunting volume and pushing Venus around the court. Serena closed it out in style, flicking a picture-perfect topspin lob that floated over Venus and into the back of the court for a winner.
Venus looked flat and demoralized in the second set and, from 2-2, Serena ran off the last four games. The match was essentially over when Venus double-faulted on break point in the sixth game to hand her sister a 4-2 lead. Two games later, Serena failed to convert on three match points before Venus ended the contest with a final backhand error.
"Serena and I, we both expect from ourselves great results," Venus said, refusing to reflect on what the siblings have accomplished. "At the moment, we're just pushing for everything that we can. And maybe when all these moments are over, then we can look back and kind of be amazed."
The men's final is Sunday, with Roger Federer seeking his record 15th Grand Slam title in a matchup with two-time runner-up Andy Roddick. Federer, a five-time Wimbledon champion, has a 18-2 record against the American. It's the seventh straight Wimbledon final and 20th major championship match overall for Federer.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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Women's singles: Serena Williams, United States
Roger Federer, Switzerland
Men's doubles: Daniel Nestor, Canada, and Nenad Zimonjic, Serbia
Women's doubles: Venus and Serena Williams, United States
Mixed doubles: Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Germany and Mark Knowles, Bahamas
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