Serena Williams fell to her knees on the grass, eyes closed, arms raised, and threw back her head.
After six years, it was her turn to hold up the Venus Rosewater Dish again.
In the fourth all-Williams final at Wimbledon, Serena beat her sister Venus 7-6 (3), 6-2 on Saturday for her third title and 11th Grand Slam championship.
“It feels so amazing,” Serena said. “I’m so blessed. I feel like I shouldn’t be holding the trophy. I can’t believe I’m holding it. It’s named for Venus and she always wins. It hasn’t settled in that I won yet.”
Serena came out on top by out-serving her big sister, lifting her game in the tiebreaker and dictating play throughout the second set, finally winning when five-time champion Venus slapped a backhand into the net on the fourth match point.
Serena beat Venus in the 2002 and ’03 finals, before Venus prevailed in last year’s championship match. Venus was trying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1991-93 to win Wimbledon three years in a row.
Still, the Williams sisters proved their dominance at the All England Club once more, winning their eighth singles title this decade. As always with Williams vs. Williams matches, the celebrations were relatively muted. The sisters embraced at the net, with the 29-year-old Venus patting 27-year-old Serena on the back.
“Today she was too good,” Venus said. “She had an answer for everything. She played the best tennis today, so congratulations.”
The sisters were due back on Centre Court later for the women’s doubles final, where they will face Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs of Australia. They’re seeking their fourth Wimbledon doubles title and 10th Grand Slam crown.
Venus had come into the final as the favorite after playing some of the best grass-court tennis of her career. She hadn’t dropped a set in 17 straight matches at Wimbledon, but couldn’t cope on this day with the fierce competitive drive and relentless power game of her sister.
The statistics summed up Serena’s superiority: She had 12 aces, 25 winners and 12 unforced errors, compared to two aces, 14 winners and 18 unforced mistakes for Venus.
Serena now has an 11-10 edge overall and 6-2 in Grand Slam finals against her sister. Once again, Serena’s superiority in the big matches came through. She currently holds three of the major titles — the U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Serena became the second player in the Open era to win the Wimbledon women’s title after overcoming a match point, having done so in the semifinals on Thursday against Elena Dementieva. The only other player to do it was Venus, who saved a match point in the 2005 final against Lindsay Davenport.
On a sunny, breezy day, there was little to separate the sisters for most of the first set, though Venus failed to convert her chances to break in the eighth game. Serving at 15-40, Serena saved the first break point with a second serve into the body that forced a backhand error from Venus. On the second, Venus went for a forehand passing shot that landed just wide of the line. Serena then hit back-to-back aces to take the game.
Serena dominated the tiebreaker, increasing her intensity and grunting volume and pushing Venus around the court. Serena closed it out in style, flicking a picture-perfect topspin lob that floated over Venus and into the back of the court for a winner.
Venus looked flat and demoralized in the second set and, from 2-2, Serena ran off the last four games. The match was essentially over when Venus double-faulted on break point in the sixth game to hand her sister a 4-2 lead. Two games later, Serena failed to convert on three match points before Venus ended the contest with a final backhand error.
The men’s final is Sunday, with Roger Federer seeking his record 15th Grand Slam title in a matchup with two-time runner-up Andy Roddick. Federer, a five-time Wimbledon champion, has a 18-2 record against the American. It’s the seventh straight Wimbledon final and 20th major championship match overall for Federer.