Venus wins the Williams family affair

Venus Williams has won her fifth Wimbledon singles title by beating younger sister Serena 7-5, 6-4 in the women's final.
Venus Williams holds aloft her fifth Wimbledon singles title.
Venus Williams holds aloft her fifth Wimbledon singles title.

LONDON // Venus Williams has been so determined over the years to play the role of big sister with aplomb that it has often prevented her from displaying the mean streak she shows to other rivals, whenever her younger sibling is on the other side of the net. After winning the first grand slam final she contested against Serena in the 2001 US Open, Venus has charitably lost the next five, two here at the Wimbledon and one at each of the other three venues, raising suggestions that she was unable to go at full throttle when family honour was at stake. Perhaps the remarks of Elena Dementieva about the possibility of a stitch-up around the Williams breakfast table - comments that have since been put down to a lack of command of the English language by the experienced Russian player - stung Venus into going into overdrive and storming to a fifth singles title here. Slow out of the starting blocks, as a rampant Serena took eight of the first nine points, Venus was the more composed player for the rest of their 1hr 51min confrontation played in a difficult swirling wind and emerged a deservedly 7-5, 6-4 champion. "My first job is being big sister and I take that very seriously," said Venus, wallowing in the glory of her seventh grand slam success while remaining aware that Serena was coming to terms with the pain of losing a final of a major for only the third time in 11 appearances. "I'm definitely more in tune with my sister's feelings because one of us has to win and one of us has to lose," said Venus, who is setting her sights on a new era of Williams dominance of women's tennis. "Nothing can detract from winning at Wimbledon but I am definitely thinking about how my sister is feeling so the celebration isn't as exciting because my sister just lost." Serena certainly had her chances, her booming forehand earning her a remarkable haul of 13 break points against her sister's seven. She managed to convert only two of them compared to the four that Venus put away. She also served five more aces than Venus's four, but her weak link was her second serve which Venus pounced on with alarming regularity. A disconsolate Serena said she felt "numb" after a performance that gave her no satisfaction. "I didn't play well today," she lamented before dismissing the notion that defeat was easier to take because it was to her sister. "I just look at her as another opponent," she retorted back. Closing out her sister in straight sets means that Venus, who draws level at 8-8 in their head-to-head rivalry, did not drop a single set throughout the fortnight. The form book is ripped up whenever she returns to Wimbledon as she proved a year ago. She won her fourth title from the lowly seeding position of 23. Nor does she intend to stop at five and confessed to targeting Martina Navratilova's record of nine titles. It had been apparent since the second week of the tournament, after the early loss of the top three seeds, that Venus was destined to go all the way. The only issue was whether she could put it across her sister. She provided the answer emphatically. wjohnson@thenational.ae

Published: July 5, 2008 04:00 AM

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