Serena wins fifth Wimbledon crown
Originally published on: 07/07/12 00:00
The American, who suffered a pulmonary embolism less than two years ago, climbed up to her box to embrace her family, starting with her father Richard, after upping her Grand Slam tally to 14 and tying sister Venus by collecting her fifth Wimbledon title.
“I’ve always wanted everything that Venus has had,” beamed Serena to chuckles from the crowd and, addressing her elder sister, added: “I had to copy you again so, sorry!”
Her name firmly cemented in the history books, Williams still lies in fourth place for Grand Slam titles won in the Open Era, but she moved one step closer to 18-time champions Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova and 22-time champion, Steffi Graf, with the triumph.
Her ecstasy followed a stirling effort from the world No.3, who had looked dead and buried early on after losing the opening set in the blink of an eye.
Broken twice in the first set, 23-year-old Radwanska went 0-5 down before finally getting on the board after 33 minutes. Looking to kill off rallies before they could develop throughout the opening set, Williams fired 16 winners to just five from Radwanska and the 30-year-old American had the luxury of her fiercesome serve to fall back on, finishing off the opening set before a brief shower interrupted play.
With the roof still open on resumption half an hour later, the unassuming Pole emerged from the break desperate to hold on to her serve, and she did, only to be broken in her very next service game as Williams picked up where she had left off before the delay. Come the eighth game, Radwanska pulled up a break point of her own and while Serena appeared to have served her way out of trouble, a first serve – that was later proved by HawkEye to be well inside the line – was called out. Radwanska seized her chance, converting the break after a protracted baseline rally before holding for a 5-4 lead.
At 5-6, Williams looked increasingly tight, allowing Radwasnka to bring up two break points, and her nerve thoroughly deserted her as she netted after a brief rally to hand the set and the momentum to the Pole.
Come the decider, Williams proved forceful in reasserting her dominance. With every game, the nerves seemed to dissipate and she grabbed the breakthrough in the fifth game, before clinching another break in the seventh to earn the chance to serve for the title, which she duly did.
“I can’t even describe it,” said the buoyant Williams after becoming the first woman aged over 30 to win the crown since Martina Navratilova in 1990. “I thank Jehova for helping me. I almost didn’t make it. I was in hospital two years ago and now I’m here holding the trophy.”
Radwanska, who forced the women’s final to go to three sets for the first time since Amelie Mauresmo defeated Justine Henin in 2006, could be proud of her efforts.
“I’m still shaking so much,” said the Pole. “I think I had the best two weeks of my life. She was playing too good today but I’m just happy to have been in the final.”