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By Caroline Cheese at Wimbledon
That's enough from me. I'm off to Court One to see Jeremy Bates* take the next step to certain Senior Gentlemen's Invitation glory. See you tomorrow when Roger Federer goes for the big 15 against Andy Mu... Roddick. Bye.
* And Anders Jarryd
Venus and Serena will have a couple of hours to shower and have a natter with the press before they return for the women's doubles final. They spent their day off yesterday pummelling top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-1 6-2. They'll face Sam Stosur and Rennae Stubbs this afternoon.
Serena's name is already on the honours board. Well, in fairness, they could have done the Williams bit yesterday... Venus or Serena have won eight of the last 10 titles at Wimbledon, which is pretty remarkable.
From fedjon13 on 606
"Congrats to Serena, I was rooting for Venus, but she just didn't cut it today."
Serena, back in her mac despite the mugginess out there, takes the dish for a spin around Centre. Venus had won 34 sets in a row at Wimbledon coming into this final, while Serena came within one point of defeat in the semi-finals against Elena Dementieva.
Champion Serena Williams speaking to BBC Sport:
"I can't believe I've got her trophy. It hasn't settled in that I won yet. I can't believe it. I really am honoured and blessed to be out here. Hi Dad, and thank you for putting up with me. (Venus is) the greatest on grass. I feel really honoured and blessed. I look forward to the doubles."
Venus Williams speaking to BBC Sport:
"Today she was too good, she had an answer for everything. She played the best tennis today so congratulations. I don't think the loss has set in yet because I'm still smiling. I've had so many great times here and of course I'm looking forward to next year and the doubles final later. I love what I do and most of all I love playing these finals."
Serena Williams has her hands on the Venus Rosewater Dish... quick as you like, it's interview time.
Duke of Kent is handing out the pots today, first to ump Alison Lang and then to Venus, who has been denied a third title in a row and a Billie-Jean King-equalling six.
Serena sinks to her knees and punches the air with both hands before running to the net to console her sister. She is now sitting in her chair, looking to the heavens in disbelief. Don't know why. You serve like that, you deserve the Wimbledon title.
1540: SERENA WILLIAMS WINS WIMBLEDON TITLE Venus 6-7 (3-7) 2-6 Serena
All looks tres gloomy for Venus as she double-faults on the first point, and then finds herself 0-30 down. No question who the crowd are supporting now: they want a longer final. She battles back to 30-30, but a wayward forehand gives Serena a match point. Venus's second serve is slow but spinny - and Serena goes wide. An epic baseline rally follows, which Venus dominates, but Serena scrambles and Venus is on her backside for the second time as Serena earns a second match point... What on earth was that?! A desperate defensive lob from Venus, which Serena just lamely pokes back into play and the defending champion survives again. But here's another match point after a brilliant Serena return and still she can't take it, Venus's smash proving too hot to handle. But then she goes long and it's ANOTHER MATCH POINT! This time, there's no escape, the older sister netting to give Serena her third Wimbledon title.
BBC Sport Mole:
"Americans all over the gaff today on Independence Day. As well as Stiller, we've got Destiny Child's Kelly Rowland and ace American skier Lindsey Vonn to name but two. Plus there are star-spangled banner balloons and bunting all over the Broadcast Centre canteen, but perversely no American themed food. ESPN must be fuming."
Venus 6-7 (3-7) *2-5 Serena
Is the knee injury bothering Venus? Or is it just the quality of her sister's play? Suddenly, she looks completely out-of-sorts. If Serena continues to serve like this, the title is hers.
Venus 6-7 (3-7) 2-4* Serena
Venus is really struggling with her ball toss today in the breezy conditions. Her first serve misses its target and Serena is onto a weak second serve in a flash to make it 15-30. Venus gets back to 30-30 but then makes a hash of a backhand. Break point Serena for the first time - and that's an absolute gift. A double-fault.
Venus 6-7 (3-7) *2-3 Serena
Well Mark (see below), Venus hasn't faced a break point yet... but she's also struggling to make any headway on her sister's serve. Serena is winning 96% of points when she nails her first serve.
From Mark via text on 81111:
"Please give me some good news about Venus. I'm stuck on a train and Serena sounds unstoppable at the moment."
Venus 6-7 (3-7) 2-2* Serena
Raking backhand winner cross-court to open the game from Serena, but it's as good as it gets.
Venus 6-7 (3-7) *1-2 Serena
Serena rattles through another service game, marches to her chair and sits with her eyes closed. I wonder if she's imagining it's someone else sitting the other side of the ump's chair.
Venus 6-7 (3-7) *0-1 Serena
Sir Trevor McDonald is here. Again. I can only imagine he must be a member, which begs two questions: how do you become a member? And are tireless services to Wimbledon text-based commentary enough to get you in? Myself and Piers Newbery would like to know. Back on court, Venus wallops down only her second ace of the match to hold easily.
Venus 6-7 (3-7) *0-1 Serena
Serena's serve is officially too good. Venus can't get near it.
From Colin via text on 81111:
"Re 1321: Update: entire population of Six Mile Bottom huddled round the big screen (my telly). All five of us entranced. Brass band on full alert (well, Richard and his tuba)."
Venus 6-7 (3-7) Serena
Serena nudges ahead, a rocketing forehand making Venus net for 3-1. HawkEye challenge on the next point, but Venus's backhand brushes the baseline. A crunching off-forehand means Serena swaps sides at 4-2. At 5-2, Serena comes up with a brutal combination of groundstrokes, finding the angle to wrong-foot Venus - leaving her sister on the ground. Serena doesn't see that, she has turned around and is pumping her fist. She misses the first set point but then produces a stunning, stunning backhand lob to claim it. More fist-pumping. Brilliant stuff from the younger Williams.
Venus 6-6 Serena
Two more aces take Serena to 40-15 and that's eight in total. Tie-break time.
Venus 6-5* Serena
Rallies are getting longer and more intense. Venus's backhand sails over the baseline, giving Serena a bit of hope for the first time at deuce. Still nothing doing.
Venus *5-5 Serena
Serena drives a backhand down the line which even Venus, with her gigantic strides, cannot reach. A forehand winner levels it up. Cannot pick a winner.
Venus 5-4* Serena
Venus drops just one point on serve. She has won 91% of points with her first serve, Serena just ahead on 92%. Not bad...
Venus *4-4 Serena
Venus ramps up the power on her return, jumping out to a 30-0 lead, and peppering the baseline with some ferocious groundstrokes, she earns two break points. Serena's second serve kicks up viciously to force the error, before lil sis comes galloping to the net. Venus misses by inches with the pass and Serena comes through with two aces on the trot.
Venus 4-3* Serena
Worried gasps from the crowd as Venus slips on the baseline as she tries to change direction. She's OK though. Her first ace of the day takes her to 40-15 and she then nearly knocks her little sister off her feet with her next serve.
Venus *3-3 Serena
Is Serena's serve the best ever in women's tennis? Got to be up there - along with Brenda Schultz-McCartney. I just typed that, and John McEnroe and Tracy Austin go and say exactly the same thing on the BBC commentary (although, oddly, without mention of Schultz-McCartney). Serena has already served four aces.
Venus 3-2* Serena
After whacking a return into the net - off a second serve - Serena turns away and appears to motion to herself to calm down. Maybe there are some nerves after all. That little talking-to doesn't help though. She goes wide with a backhand on the next return and they're back to the chairs again.
Venus *2-2 Serena
Serena sticks out the racquet to block a Venus volley and sees the ball clip the outside of the sideline. Bit lucky, but it sets her on her way. Nothing to choose between them at the moment. Both serves looking fairly awesome.
Venus 2-1* Serena
Quick as you like, Venus is striding back to her chair after an effortless service game. The umbrellas are up - to shade the players from the sun, which has made a welcome reappearance after that earlier rain shower.
Venus *1-1 Serena
Ace, driven forehand down the line, this is a good start from Serena and she holds to love. The younger sister looks so stern, it's actually frightening me a little bit.
Venus 1-0* Serena
A double-fault to start the final. Nerves, Venus? Mmmm, maybe not. Sizzling forehand winner on the next point before a belter from Serena forces V to go long. But the defending champ comes through.*denotes next to serve
Turns out Venus won the toss and she'll serve first.
Richard Williams, as usual, hasn't hung around for the final. His work here is done. Mum Oracene is watching from the players' box. Not sure if she's in Venus or Serena's section. The
now infamous steward (and former Mole nemesis), David Spearing,
appears to be handing round chocolates to Oracene and the rest of the Williams support crew.
Paralympic tennis champion Pistol Pete Norfolk is performing the coin toss. Not sure who won actually.
The players are handed big bouquets of pink flowers as they walk on to court. Warm round of applause from the crowd. All this means nothing to Serena, who very much has her game face on - as well as her famous mac.
I don't think any player enjoys these pre-match interviews, but Serena really, really hates it. "We're just here to have fun and do our best. This is Wimbledon and we're really excited," is about all the world number two can muster. Venus is a little bit more forthcoming: "This is what we always dreamed of, playing each other in major finals, especially here. I love this surface and it's always been good to me. It's an honour and a privilege."
BBC Sport Mole:
"Like you, we are all pretty down in the dumps following yesterday's upset. But don't worry there is a televisual treat in store today to put skip back into everyone's step. No, not the Williams' sisters final. Nor Jeremy Bates in the Senior Gentlemen's Invitation Doubles, although make sure you watch both (Jeremy must take precedence). It's only commentator per excellence Andrew Castle and his wife Sophia on ITV show All Star Mr and Mrs! How exciting."
Unconvinced about the excitement of a fourth all-Williams final? WTA Tour president Stacey Allaster is not. "We are incredibly excited, we're watching history, how unique that two sisters have dominated this great championships for a decade," she tells BBC News 24. "I think we have to give all credit to Venus, she owns Wimbledon, that's her court, and from the get-go she put Dinara's back against the wall in the semi-final. Dinara is the number one through consistency in the rankings but when you play six-times champion Venus Williams on grass, it doesn't really matter what the rankings are. Our tour is over 50 weeks of the year and we're only here for two. It takes a special talent to go from clay to grass to hard courts."
In praising the Williams sisters and their achievements, John McEnroe has just suggested Richard Williams could do a job at the LTA. That, I would love to see. I may start a petition.
Also in the posh seats today: Martina Navratilova, who tells BBC Sport she'll be sitting next to Sir Richard Branson. Nav completes her spot with Sue Barker before marching off down the side of Centre Court, waving regally at some excitable oldies in the crowd as she goes. Hopefully, there'll be some vol-au-vents left on the buffet for the nine-times Wimbledon champion.
BBC Sport Mole:
"Royal Box and celebrity delight today. Granted there are a preposterous amount of HRHs, Excellencys, Admirals, Sirs and former Wimbledon champions, but to counter that, Ben Stiller is in with his lovely wife Christine Taylor! Also in attendance, but in the cheap(er) seats are Kelly Brook and Danny Cipriani, nice to see he has put Venus and Serena ahead of the Lions."
So it's Williams v Williams XXI. The head-to-head reads 10-10. Serena has won five of their seven Grand Slam finals. But Venus has won five Wimbledon titles, to Serena's two.
From Pickles91 on 606:
"It seems like all the enthusiasm has gone for Wimbledon with Murray going out. Heard some people moan about the crowd yesterday but at the end they gave Roddick the cheer he deserved. This final today just shows how dominant the Williams sisters are, interesting to watch maybe."
Does Six Mile Bottom have a brass band available? Actually, don't worry. The covers are now coming off Centre Court so we should be good to go for the 1400 BST start.
From Colin via text on 81111:
"Re 1300: Good news - full sunshine here. Would the ladies like to play the first ever final in Six Mile Bottom (Cambs)?"
Roger Federer is holding a press conference ahead of tomorrow's men's final against Andy Mu... Roddick. He's excited and a bit nervous, in summary. He is also asked when he might think about retire, and responds: "Well, Mirka's dream is for our child to see me play, so there you go, I guess I'm going to have to play a few more years."
Excellent enthusiasm DaveStyx. I only wish we could have matched it. However, I can tell you we have already enjoyed
several viewings of Hacker the Dog
and the mood is now upbeat.
From DaveStyx via text on 81111:
"OK, enough is enough! Where are you? Been refreshing since 8.30am (got to work early). Hope to see you soon. Ta"
Cancel that. The Voice of Wimbledon says there are no plans to use the roof at the moment and they expect this band of rain to pass through very shortly. Drama over.
Hello. I've got breaking news for you: it's raining and the covers are on Centre Court. We could have a final under the roof! That should wipe away the bitter memories of yesterday hey?