Venus Takes Down Serena

July 5, 2008

 

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — This time, big sister put little sister in her place.

Advantage, Miss Venus Williams.

She defeated Serena 7-5, 6-4 Saturday for her fifth Wimbledon title and second in a row. Venus avenged two previous losses to her younger sibling in the final at the All England Club and reasserted her dominance on her favorite court and favorite grass surface.

“I can’t believe that it’s five,” said Venus, who now also has seven Grand Slam championships. “But when you’re in the final against Serena Williams, five seems too far away.”

Venus came from 3-1 down in the first set to turn around the match, breaking Serena four times while dropping serve twice in a final that produced breathtaking tennis despite swirling wind.

This was more than a matchup between siblings; it was a contest between two of the hardest-hitting, most athletic players in the world at the top of their game.

Venus broke to finish the match in 1 hour, 51 minutes, with Serena hitting a backhand wide on the second match point. The sisters embraced at the net, and Venus kept her celebrations in check as she twirled and waved to the Centre Court crowd.

Venus accepted the winner’s trophy — a sterling silver salver aptly named the Venus Rosewater dish — from the Duke of Kent.

“It’s so rewarding to perform here,” Venus said. “Every time I come back I know I have the chance to play well and make history. My first job is big sister and I take that very seriously.”

Watching from the players’ box was the sisters’ mother, Oracene. Their father, Richard, had flown back to the United States because he can’t stand to watch his daughters play each other.

Referring to the mixed feelings of her family about whom to support, Venus said, “It’s hard for all of them, but I like to think they want me to win.”

The 26-year-old Serena accepted her runner-up trophy and paid tribute to her 28-year-old sister.

“I’m so happy that at least one of us was able to win,” Serena said. “She’s played great this year. We’re just glad to be in the finals again.”

On Sunday, five-time champion Roger Federer and two-time runner-up Rafael Nadal will meet in their third consecutive final at Wimbledon.

Venus is the 10th woman to win five Wimbledon singles titles, and only the third in the 40-year history of the Open era after Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.

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