Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sibling Rivalry

She needed three sets to do it, but Serena Williams held off a determined Agnieszka Radwanska to claim her fifth Wimbledon singles title Saturday.

"I always wanted everything Venus had," she joked after being reminded (for what, I am sure, was not the first time) that her sister Venus also has five Wimbledon singles titles — including one she claimed against Serena in 2008 (although three of Serena's titles have been won against Venus, including a 2009 rematch).

Serena has now won 14 Grand Slam titles, and, at the age of 30, the window for her to match Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova (with 18 each) may be closing — and the odds that she can match the all–time leader, Steffi Graf (22), may be nonexistent.

But even at 30, people speak in awe of Serena's serve, even her second serve, which most players seem to treat timidly. It is the best in the business, they say — and when I say "they," I include in that group Chris Evert, who was a commentator during today&apos's match.

Serena had the proper appreciation for her serve, Simon Cambers wrote in The Guardian, but she seemed baffled by its power.

"My serve really helped me throughout this tournament," she told Cambers. "I can't describe why it was so good or how it was so good. It's not like I practise it that much. I just had the rhythm."

Radwanska, who was seeded third, was no easy mark.

Serena cruised to a 6–1 victory in the first set but then faltered in the rain–delayed second set and had to hold off the hard–charging Radwanska in the third set, 6–2.

Over and over again, Radwanska seemed to be on the brink of overcoming Serena in that final set, just as she had in the first, but, in the end, the result was the same.

ESPN's announcers spoke of Radwanska's competitive nature, how the fact that she made it to the women's singles championship would not be enough for her, and that certainly appeared to be the case. Clutching her runnerup plate, she almost seemed to be in mourning.

Before the match, she had spoken with confidence of her chances to upend Serena.

A three–set duel clearly did not satisfy her.

I expect we will see her in Centre Court again.

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