x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Serena Williams wins fourth Wimbledon final

The world No 1 beats the Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2 in just over a hour to claim her 13th major singles title.

Serena Williams was once again just too powerful for her opponent as she claimed her 13th major career title.
Serena Williams was once again just too powerful for her opponent as she claimed her 13th major career title.

Serena Williams etched her family's name on the Venus Rosewater Dish for the ninth time in 11 years with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-2 victory over surprise Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva. The 28-year-old is now only one behind her sister Venus after clinching her fourth title at the All England Club in a performance of supreme power and athleticism lasting 67 minutes. Zvonareva, playing in her first grand slam final, began well but Williams simply got better and better and reeled off nine of the last 11 games for a 13th major singles crown. Williams's victory took her ahead of Billie Jean King to sixth on the all-time list, and she was thrilled to come out a winner again in SW19.

"This one's very special," she told the Centre Court crowd. "It's amazing to be among such great people. I'm so happy and I feel so blessed. My dream was able to come true." The defending champion had looked the clear favourite to retain her crown all fortnight, powering through the draw without dropping a set. Her serve has been one of the key reasons for that and it took her only two points to rack up her first ace of the match. She said: "I've honestly never served like this. I just feel like at Wimbledon when I come onto this grass and this court I start serving well and I want to keep it up."

Zvonareva, who came from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova on Thursday, did not looked overawed by the occasion, holding serve comfortably in the early stages and even pushing Williams to deuce in the third game. The top seed mixed aces with double faults more frequently than she would have liked, while there were also enough errors in the early stages to give Zvonareva encouragement. But there were errors from the Russian too and three of them in the sixth game gave Williams a first break point. Zvonareva saved that with a terrific forehand, which was greeted enthusiastically by the crowd, who were no doubt hoping predictions of a one-sided final would prove wide of the mark. The pressure was growing, though, with Williams's backhand looking particularly dangerous. And the American did make the breakthrough to move 5-3 ahead.

A lucky net cord helped her engineer a break point, and Williams took it thanks to a forehand pass down the line, before celebrating on one knee with her fist in the air. Williams wobbled a little serving for the set, sending down another double fault on her first set point, but she took it on her third chance thanks to a wayward Zvonareva forehand. The Russian, 25, had lost the opening set in her last two matches before coming back to win but repeating that against Williams was an almighty task, and things got worse for Zvonareva right at the start of the second set when she was broken again. The 21st seed's frustration was obvious as she slapped a forehand into the net, but the barrage of power coming at her really was a sight to behold.

Zvonareva ended Williams's winning streak at five games but the world No 1 was simply getting better and better, forcing her opponent into more errors as she sought a foothold in the match. The former Australian Open semi-finalist was in trouble again in the fifth game and, although she saved two break points, another swiftly followed and was met with a double fault. Zvonareva held serve for only the second time in the set to make Williams serve out the match, and she completed that task with the same confidence she had shown throughout the tournament, winning the game to love with a smash. Zvonareva congratulated her rival, saying: "You're a great player but you're also a great champion. You really deserved to win today. I'm disappointed I was not able to show my best today but Serena didn't allow me to." The Russian was grateful to be in the tournament at all after tearing ankle ligaments last year, and she reflected with pride on her best grand slam performance. "After a couple of hours I will look back at this moment that I was dreaming about since I was little kid, to be on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, and now here I am," she added. * PA