The all-Williams battle took a while to get into gear, but once it did, the fans on Centre Court were treated to some gripping stuff. Serena broke her elder sister before most spectators were even settled into their seats and the early exchanges were dominated by service until the eighth game. Venus finally carved out her first break point as Serena lost her rhythm, but she fired down a big serve to take it back to deuce. An incredible rally followed on the next point, which Venus dominated and won at the net before sending down an incredibly deep return on the next service to level matters at 4-4.
The rallies got longer as the end of the first set approached and break points were exchanged and saved. And then in the 12th game, Venus stepped up. Two great returns made it 0-30 on her sister’s service, and though Serena battled back to 30-30, Venus pounced on two second serves to take the first set 7-5.
The second set began with a Venus serve clocked at 129 mph – the fastest ever recorded at the Championships – and then a fascinating game ensued, which lasted 14 minutes. Serena earned any number of break points and howled in frustration every time an unforced error or a Venus winner put paid to her hopes. At the end of a backhand rally Serena finally converted a break point to lead 2-1, but her psychological advantage was wiped out in a matter of seconds as Venus broke straight back.
The elder sister again began to dominate on service, causing her younger sibling to bounce her racquet off the turf in frustration. Serena, nevertheless, served strongly until Venus once again seized the day at precisely the right moment. She pummelled the ball on to her sister’s backhand then devoured a drop that fell too deep. At 15-40, Serena earned herself a stay of execution with an ace, but a backhand that drifted out handed Venus the title, 7-5, 6-4.
The crowd – deprived of what surely would have been an epic third set – were left wanting more and their wish was granted as there was just enough time to fit the ladies’ doubles final in at the end of the day. The sister act broke in the third game of the opening set against No. 16 seeds Lisa Raymond and Sam Stosur and never looked back, running out 6-2, 6-2 winners. This was the third Wimbledon doubles title for the Williams sisters after 2000 (when Venus also won the singles) and 2002 (when Serena defeated Venus in the singles final).