By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon
Venus Williams became Wimbledon champion for the third time with an epic win over Lindsay Davenport in the longest-ever women's final.
Venus Williams also won the title in 2000 and 2001
The American regained the title she won in 2000 and 2001 with a 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 9-7 victory over the world number one.
Davenport served for the match at 6-5 in the second but was broken, and had a match point in the third.
But Williams kept fighting and, as Davenport struggled with a back strain, broke in game 15 to win in 2hrs 45min.
Williams went into the match on the back of a stunning win over defending champion Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals but could not repeat that form early on.
Davenport was soon 5-2 ahead and held her nerve to serve out despite losing one of the breaks.
In a nervous second set, Davenport angrily questioned a call in game nine and faced a set point in the following game, but held on with a big serve.
At 5-5 the pressure became too much for Williams, who opened with two double-faults before netting a forehand and slipping over on break point.
But it was not over, as Williams stunned Davenport by breaking back to love and then surging through the tie-break.
Davenport made the first breakthrough in the decider with a break in game six and went on to lead 4-2, 40-15, before Williams came roaring back.
The top seed then left Centre Court for treatment on a lower back injury and on her return soon got to match point on the Williams serve.
Still the drama continued as Williams dug deep to find a backhand winner, and five games later it was the 14th seed who broke with a rasping forehand winner.
This time there were no more twists and, after double-faulting on her first match point, Williams clinched the title when Davenport netted a forehand.
An ecstatic champion could hardly contain herself, leaping into the air in delight at the moment of victory.
"Lindsay played so well," Williams told BBC Sport.
"There were so many times she was trying to stay in the match and I couldn't have asked for a better opponent."
Williams added: "I have to say thanks to Serena. She was so encouraging to me.
"You never know what life is going to throw at you, so every day I just expect the sun to come up, that's all."
Davenport agreed that she had experience a memorable final on Centre Court, even though she settled for the runner-ups honours.
"Even after I lost the second set, I thought, 'this is a great match,'" said Davenport.
"Obviously I'm extremely disappointed but it was exhilarating and I felt like I played great and got really close."