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Rediff.com  » Sports » Venus downs Serena to win fifth title

Venus downs Serena to win fifth title

Last updated on: July 05, 2008 22:13 IST

Venus Williams survived a fierce onslaught from Serena Williams to win her fifth Wimbledon singles title on Saturday, finally subduing her younger sister 7-5, 6-4.

Venus fought back from a break down in both sets to trump her sister in high-quality contest on a windswept Centre Court.

A scooped backhand wide from Serena handed Venus victory following an absorbing battle lasting one hour and 51 minutes.

In her moment of triumph, a beaming Venus quickly ran to the net to offer her sibling a consolation embrace.

"I can't believe it's five. But when you're in the final against Serena Williams, five seems so far away. She played so awesome, it was really a test," the 28-year-old American said after successfully defending her title.

"It's so rewarding to perform here and that every time I come back here I have the ultimate chance to play well and make history."

The American siblings met in a Grand Slam showpiece for the seventh time although the last time they clashed in a major final was at Wimbledon five years ago when Serena won a subdued battle against an unfit Venus.

Saturday's victory also allowed Venus to gain some sweet revenge. She had beaten Serena at the 2001 US Open but lost the five finals since and trailed their overall head-to-heads 7-8.

On Saturday, though, the sun was shining down on Venus.

Serena, 26 and 15 months younger than her sister, began the final in ominous fashion producing a series of searing service returns to break the seventh seed in the opening game.

With gusting winds blowing through Centre Court, Venus often struggled with her ball toss and could have gone a double break down had Serena converted another break point in the fifth game.

But a low angled forehand volley winner got Venus out of trouble and she then suddenly found her range to level at 4-4.

The American sisters traded pounding groundstrokes from the baseline until Venus pounced in the 12 game to take the set when Serena slapped a backhand into the net.

HIGHLY CHARGED

Past matches between Venus and Serena have been captivating, highly charged yet often disappointing affairs.

But any notion that Saturday's final result might have been predetermined by a 'family decision' were soon dispelled.

Both sisters went for their shots from the start and at one point Serena even aimed a missile straight into Venus's body. But Venus was prepared to defend her territory and fired back with interest.

In the first game of the second set, she unleashed the fastest serve by a woman at Wimbledon, a 129 mph (208 kph) bullet. The milestone was a shade slower than Brenda Schultz-McCarthy's overall record of 209 kph..

Although she lost her serve in the third game that lasted 14 minutes and featured numerous deuces before Serena finally broke on her sixth attempt, Venus never lost belief.

She pounced on the next game to break back and continued to keep Serena on her toes throughout.

Faced with a barrage of thundering groundstrokes, the sixth seed's resistance finally crumbled as the match inched towards the two hour mark.

"She was a little better today and it didn't work out the way I planned," said Serena, who had been eyeing a third singles title at the All England Club.

"I'm so happy that at least one of us was able to win."

After wrecking her sister's dreams in the singles final, Venus said she would try to allow her sister some form of celebration by helping her to win the doubles title. The duo will take on 16th seeds Samantha Stosur and Lisa Raymond later on Saturday.

"My first job is big sister. I take that very seriously," said Venus. "Serena deserves a win so I'm really going to try even harder for that."

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