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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sisters shine on day of finals

Photo Titled Williams sisters champion and runner-up
Serena and Venus Williams are the ladies' singles winner and runner-up for 2009

Serena Williams deprived her sister Venus of a hat-trick of consecutive wins in a comprehensive 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 victory in the women’s singles final. The younger sister stepped up her game at important moments, pulling away in the tiebreak and then breaking midway through the second set to put the match beyond Venus’s reach.

For nigh on an hour, there was no quarter asked and none given between the 29-year-old number three seed and the 27-year-old second seed. Only two games went to deuce, one on each service, but in the tiebreak Serena was that little bit better.

“I don't think I did too many things wrong,” said Venus ruefully after the match. “But I would play a good shot and she'd hit a winner off of it or put me in a position where she could hit another winner.”

The second set began much like the first, but then Venus’s serve, usually her greatest weapon, particularly on grass, deserted her. In the sixth game, she sliced a second serve at a mere 66mph that Serena devoured. A break point ensued and worse was to come as Venus double-faulted for the third time in the match, virtually handing the title to Serena.

Venus was understandably subdued after the match, refusing either to blame her ailing knee or question her equally faltering serve. Serena, meanwhile, was boisterous, holding court in a press conference where she sported a T-shirt with a risqué slogan and made sideways remarks at Dinara Safina, the world number one who has yet to win a Grand Slam while Serena currently holds three, and the WTA ranking system for allowing such a situation to come about.

The sisters were back a few hours later for the women's doubles final, playing the Australians Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs. The first set was a close battle, with some thrilling exchanges around the net. It went to a tiebreak that the Williams sisters won 7-4. The second set involved Venus and Serena battering their opponents with powerful shots as the Australians tried to mount a brave defence. But the American pair were too strong and they took the set 6-4 to claim their fourth Wimbledon doubles title.

The men’s doubles was a typically epic affair, stretching over four sets. Second seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic eventually prevailed over top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan, retaining the title that they won last year. The first three sets all went to tiebreaks.

In the girls’ singles final, Thailand’s Noppawan Lertcheewakarn put the disappointment of last year’s loss to Laura Robson behind her as she came from a set down to defeat top seed and Roland Garros champion Kristina Mladenovic of France, who struggled with a knee injury as the match wore on.

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