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Venus claims fourth Wimbledon crown
July 07, 2007 20:38 IST
Last Updated: July 07, 2007 21:38 IST
Venus Williams won her fourth Wimbledon title on Saturday beating French 18th seed Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-1 with a commanding performance in the final.
The American, seeded 23 after injury, took control of the match from the start. She opened 3-0 leads in each set and never let surprise finalist Bartoli get a foothold.
"It's been a long road back and I've had some tough losses but I've brought it together here and beaten some of the best players in the world, including Marion," said Williams, who missed the Australian Open in January with a wrist problem.
Williams won the toss, and took the first game to love with her powerful serve to set the tone of the match.
Bartoli, 22, won her first points on her own serve in the next game but Williams kept up the pressure forcing her to deuce, returning hard and early and making the break when the nervous Frenchwoman served a double fault.
The French 18th seed, who beat world number one Justine Henin [Images] in the semi-finals on Friday, finally got a game on the board in the fourth with some big forehand groundstrokes despite having a break point against her.
With the crowd backing her as the underdog despite her higher seeding, Bartoli broke back in the fifth game on her second break point when the American sent a forehand long.
Games went with serve until Williams, grunting with effort, upped the pace in the 10th game on Bartoli's serve.
A wild forehand gave Williams two set points and Bartoli saved one with a forehand pass. But the American claimed the set with an aggressive backhand volley after 46 minutes.
In the second set, Williams wowed the crowd with a stunning backhand smash to earn break point for a 2-0 lead.
She completed the break with a backhand down the line that a lunging Bartoli could not reach.
Williams had looked erratic in the opening rounds, but her groundstrokes were humming and her volleys sharp on Saturday.
She raced into a 3-0 lead and during the changeover, Bartoli took an injury time out to have her bandaged foot re-strapped.
Immediately afterwards Williams also requested some treatment to her groin and Bartoli pleased the crowd by joining in their Mexican wave.
Williams returned with a strapped thigh and seemed to have lost her range somewhat, sending groundstrokes long for Bartoli to win her serve to love.
The American, chasing a sixth Grand Slam title, got a grip in the next game and soon moved the score to 4-1.
Bartoli missed a volley on her serve to gift Williams two break points in the sixth game. She saved the first with a walloping forehand and the second with an inch-perfect backhand. Williams earned a third and this time converted it with a backhand winner.
Serving for the match at 5-1, Williams was too experienced to falter. She set up two match points with a sizzling backhand and though Bartoli saved one after a tense rally, Williams converted the second with a huge serve that Bartoli could not return.