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Serena on song to win Wimbledon’s fourth sister act

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:37

Serena Williams is the Wimbledon champion for a third time, beating sister Venus 7-6(3) 6-2 in a tense final that rarely sparked into life.

In the prisoner’s dilemma there is the option to share the prize, but when Venus and Serena step onto the court to play one another there is no middle ground.

Their father Richard wants no part of it – with his daughters taking to Centre Court to play their fourth Wimbledon final against one another, he was reportedly back home in the United States, following his time-honoured routine of cutting the grass.

The crowd, as in the past, struggled to gauge how best to express their support for the players, and combined with the lack of any histrionics from the players between points the match was played in an awkward silence.

There were very few chances during a cagey first set until game eight, when Serena’s footwork let her down as she gave Venus two break points. The elder sister couldn’t convert, missing the second shot at a 5-3 lead by looping a cross-court forehand beyond the empty court with Serena stranded at the net.

Only a tie-break could separate the sisters after that, and there was a brief flurry of tennis amid the tension. Both women picked up their game but it was Serena who excelled, sealing the set with a topspin lob that Venus could do nothing about.

The pattern of the first set looked set to continue, with Serena doing her best to outmanoeuvre her sister, keeping her off balance with drives to the corners as Venus searched out winners on the run.

But in game five of the second Venus began to crumble. Her first serve deserted her and exposed the second serve to too stern a test. One limped over the net at just 66mph to give Serena break point, gifted to her by Venus with a double fault.

In contrast, Serena’s serve was in flawless form. With no double faults in the entire match and ace No.12 taking her into a 5-2 lead, it proved to be the difference between Serena regaining and her sister retaining the trophy on this occasion.

The match and the championship looked set to reach a dismal conclusion when Venus, moving poorly despite showing few signs of struggling with her heavily strapped left knee, slipped to 0-30.

It was the beginning of the end, but the defending champion made a fight of it, denying her sister the title three times before succumbing on the fourth match point with a netted backhand.

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