Serena wins all-Williams duel

Serena Williams kept telling herself she was facing just another foe in the Wimbledon final Saturday, just another woman who hits the ball quite hard, just another player trying to deny her a Grand Slam title.

Serena Williams celebrates beating her sister Venus Williams in the women’s singles final at Wimbledon on Saturday.

WIMBLEDON, England — Serena Williams kept telling herself she was facing just another foe in the Wimbledon final Saturday, just another woman who hits the ball quite hard, just another player trying to deny her a Grand Slam title.

She wasn’t facing just anyone, of course. She was playing her older sister Venus. And when the latest all-Williams final finished, when Serena wrapped up a 7-6 (3), 6-2 victory for a third Wimbledon championship and 11th major title overall, she jogged to the net with her arm extended for a handshake.

Venus pulled her close for a warm embrace, instead.

“I didn’t think about Venus at all today. I just saw her as an opponent,” said Serena, who also beat her sister in the 2002 and 2003 finals at the All England Club. “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.”

That also might have been because she was facing the only other woman who can equal her power and court coverage on grass courts. Monday’s rankings will say Serena is No. 2, and Venus No. 3 — behind No. 1 Dinara Safina, a 6-1, 6-0 loser to the elder Williams in the semifinals — but it is clear who the best woman in the world is at the moment.

Serena has won three of the past four Grand Slam titles and even poked a little fun at Safina, who is 0-3 in major finals.

“If you hold three Grand Slam titles, maybe you should be No. 1, but not on the WTA Tour, obviously,” Serena said. Then, alluding sarcastically to two less-than-major events won by Safina, Serena doubled over in laughter after saying: “I see myself as No. 2. That’s where I am. I think Dinara did a great job to get to No. 1. She won Rome and Madrid.”

Toronto’s Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia captured their second consecutive doubles title at Wimbledon later Saturday, defeating rival American twins Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (7), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-3.

The Williams’ father Richard used to like to say his youngest daughter would be the better of the two, and the numbers back that up at this point: Serena leads in Grand Slam titles (11-7), in head-to-head matches (11-10), and in all-Williams major finals (6-2).

It was the 14th Grand Slam final for each Williams; no other active woman participated in more than four. Serena is 11-3 in such matches; Venus fell to 7-7, with all but one defeat coming against her sister.

Asked if it’s easier or harder losing to a sibling, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus said: “There’s no ’easy’ to losing, especially when it’s so close to the crown.”

She was the two-time defending champion and had won 20 matches in a row at Wimbledon, the last 17 in straight sets. But Venus — at 29, she’s 15 months older than Serena — appeared a step slow, perhaps bothered by the left knee that’s been heavily bandaged since the second round, although she refused to place blame there.

“She played so well, really lifted her game,” Venus said. “I had an error here and there. Today, I couldn’t make errors.”

Serena had more winners, 25-14, more aces, 12-2, and fewer unforced errors, 12-18.

About 3 1/2 hours after their match ended, Serena and Venus returned to Centre Court and capped their domination of the tournament by winning a second consecutive Wimbledon doubles championship. Slapping palms between points, the sisters beat Australians Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs 7-6 (4), 6-4 to collect their ninth women’s doubles Grand Slam title, fourth at Wimbledon.

That’s right: a quick turnaround from opponents to teammates. But they’re used to this routine. They’re still coached by their parents, who began teaching them the game 20-something years ago in Compton, Calif. They still share a house during Wimbledon. They still practise together.

During the singles final, the Center Court crowd of about 15,000 was not altogether sure for whom to cheer, going stretches without supporting either sister. Mom sat in the stands with arms crossed, while Dad had already left town, because he refuses to watch his daughters play each other.

As they walked to the sideline at the first changeover, crossing paths, the sisters avoided any eye contact whatsoever. Serena looked down at her racket, fiddling with the strings, the way she does against anyone else.

Surnames usually suffice when chair umpires announce the score, but that wouldn’t work for Saturday’s official, Alison Lang, who needed to use first names, as in: “Miss Venus Williams leads, 2 games to 1, first set.”

The wind swirled, the sun was bright as it peeked out from behind scattered clouds, and Venus kept catching her tosses on serves.

That was the part of her game that was most dominant this fortnight, and the thing that let her down the most against Serena.

Venus wound up with more double-faults (three) than aces, and she was broken twice. Serena, meanwhile, saved the only two break points she faced.

Just Posted

Police say a woman in the Red Deer area may be in danger

Public’s assistance is urgently requested

Cannabis legalization won’t impact one Red Deer pot dispensary

Nothing changes for Compass Cannabis Clinic in Red Deer despite legalization

Cannabis retail store will open later in October in Red Deer

Two cannabis stores coming to downtown Red Deer

Neighbours drop opposition to Red Deer County communications tower

Communication tower to be located in Balmoral Heights

Legal cannabis comes with many unknowns: Red Deer County councillors

Councillors question how rural municipalities will be able to enforce cannabis regulations

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunchbags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown on… Continue reading

Wickenheiser, Pegula reflect NHL’s trend toward diversity

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With a laugh, Kim Pegula’s competitive nature kicked in… Continue reading

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

DUBBO, Australia — The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were jokingly thanked… Continue reading

TV Review: A Roseanne Barr-less ‘The Conners’ is a triumph

NEW YORK — Can there be a “Roseanne” without Roseanne? The answer… Continue reading

Canadian manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent in August: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 0.4 per cent to… Continue reading

Brian Mulroney joins board of directors of New York-based pot company

NEW YORK — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is joining the board… Continue reading

Canadians waking up to legalized cannabis: ‘My new dealer is the prime minister’

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Canadians across the country woke up to legalized… Continue reading

B.C. man accused of swimming naked in Toronto shark tank arrested in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Police have arrested a B.C. man who is… Continue reading

Most Read