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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Williams Blasts Past Davenport to Claim First Slam




LONDON -- Venus Williams joined kid sister Serena as a Grand Slam champion Saturday, overpowering Lindsay Davenport in straight sets to win Wimbledon and serve notice the American siblings could dominate women's tennis for years to come.


Williams displayed extraordinary power, pace and athleticism to defeat the defending champion 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) and become the first black women's champion at Wimbledon since Althea Gibson, who won the title in 1957 and 1958.


The 20-year-old Williams accepted the appropriately named Venus Rosewater Dish, the silver salver that goes to the women's champion, after an emotional celebration of her family's second Grand Slam title.


Eighteen-year-old Serena Williams, who lost to Venus in the semifinals Thursday, won last year's U.S. Open.


It's the first time in tennis history that two sisters have each won a Grand Slam.


"We're breaking records, and we're moving forward," said Williams. "I always expected to win Grand Slams. This was meant to be."


She said she was honored to equal the achievement of Gibson, now 72 and living in East Orange, New Jersey.


"It means a lot," Williams said. "I know she's somewhere watching this. She was watching when Serena won the [U.S.] Open."


After Davenport pushed a forehand into the net on the second match point, Williams leaped high into the air, her arms outstretched. She skipped and bounded five times to the net, her face contorted in glee.


Williams climbed into the stands and ran up the steps to the guest box, where she fell into a long embrace with her sister. Her father, Richard Williams, wiped away tears with a towel.


"It's really great because I've worked so hard all my life to be here," Venus said after accepting the winner's plate from the Duchess of Kent. "It's strange. I always dream I win a Grand Slam. When I wake up, it's a nightmare. Now that I've got it, I don't have to wake up like that any more."


Holding the plate, Williams said, "It's better than the men's cup in my opinion."


Davenport, winner of three Grand Slams, looked confused and overwhelmed against the faster, stronger and more consistent Williams.


While Davenport normally dictates points with her booming serve and groundstrokes, Davenport was left dazed and flat-footed as Williams cracked searing winners all over the court.


Not only did Williams dominate with her power from the baseline, she also beat Davenport with put-away volleys, overheads and deft drop shots.


Davenport, wearing a wrap around her left thigh, appeared slightly restricted in her mobility. She's been bothered by leg and back problems for weeks, but made no excuses.


"It's tough when your opponent is hitting the ball so hard, on the lines," she said. "That tends to make [the ailments] a little worse. It was just really hard to combat the power that she was giving me and try and run down enough balls on the grass."


Williams looked tight in the early going, losing her serve in the first game after three unforced errors. But she broke back right away to take control, winning four straight games and keeping Davenport pinned on her heels.


Davenport went ahead 3-1 in the second set but failed to keep the momentum. Williams showed signs of choking when, serving for the match at 5-4, she double faulted twice and made two unforced errors to get broken. But Williams was dominant in the tiebreak, twice holding up her clenched left fist after winners.


The victory was worth pounds 430,000 ($650,000) for Williams, while Davenport received pounds 215,000.


"You knew eventually she was going to win a Grand Slam," Davenport said. "It's nice to see the monkey get off her back. Both Serena and Venus are going to win more Grand Slam titles. Venus is going to be a lot tougher to beat now that she has this first one under her belt."