Serena reigns again
American proves too powerful for Radwanska in Wimbledon final
Last Updated: 07/07/12 7:09pm
Serena Williams claimed her fifth Wimbledon title with a hard-fought 6-1 5-7 6-2 victory over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska on Centre Court.
The sixth-seeded American's success means she has now drawn level with sister Venus and British pair Lottie Dod and Charlotte Cooper Sterry, who also has five victories at the All England Club.
Williams looked set to ease past Radwanska, who was making her first grand slam final appearance, when she breezed through the opening set.
Yet Radwanska offered sterner resistance in the second, finally breaking her opponent's serve to level at 4-4 before another in the 12th levelled matters.
However, her efforts to get back on terms seemed to take their toll in the decider, allowing her rival to take control again, Williams reaching a record 102 aces in the tournament as she claimed her 14th grand slam singles crown.
The result also means Victoria Azarenka, who lost in the semi-finals at SW19 to the eventual champion, now reclaims the world number one spot.
Radwanska had been severely affected by an upper respiratory illness over the last few days and it showed at the start of the match.
The 23-year-old, the first Pole to reach a Grand Slam final for 73 years might have wished she was back in her sick bed as Williams scorched her way to the first set dropping only a single game and breaking her opponent twice.
Williams converted her third break point for a 2-0 lead before she broke again in the fourth game and, although sympathetic cheers echoed around Centre Court when Radwanska finally got on the scoreboard, it wasn't long before Williams closed out the set in just 36 minutes.
However, the dark clouds soon closed in on Centre Court and a rain delay of 25 minutes offered Radwanska a chance to regroup before the start of the second set.
It seemed that any hopes of a revival had been snuffed out when Serena broke to love in the third game of the second set.
But Radwanska kept fighting and, finally unfurled a string of subtle shots which have proved so effective over the last fortnight and she broke twice to level the match.
The Pole's clever changes of pace and nerves seemed to get the better of Williams as she surrendered the set with a succession of errors at 5-6.
Williams was now being forced to battle for every point and she looked in trouble at 1-2 in the final set, but she regained her composure as she thumped down four successive aces to hold serve and stepped up the power to land the decisive break for a 3-2 lead.
Williams, contesting her seventh Wimbledon singles final, bagged another break in the fifth game when Radwanska sent a backhand long and again two games later with a delicate drop-shot.
She closed out the match with backhand winner and fell backwards onto the Centre Court turf in celebration.
Williams pockets a cheque for £1.15milllion, is the first woman over 30 to win Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova in 1990.
The new world no.4 is now sixth on the list of most Grand Slam singles titles - four away from Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert (18), eight away from Steffi Graf (22) and 10 away from Australian, Margaret Court (24).
She also becomes the seventh different winner of a grand slam tournament since Kim Clijsters won the U.S Open in 2010 and Australian Open at the start of 2011.