Tag Archives: faults

WTA Sony Open – Miami: Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-3 6-0 in the final

Serena storms back to sink Sharapova in three sets and lift Sony Open title in Miami

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

20:14 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:39 GMT, 30 March 2013

Serena Williams lifted her sixth Sony Open title after magnificently bouncing back to see off Maria Sharapova in the final in Miami.

The world No 1 was edged out in a tight first set but lost three games thereafter as she stormed to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory and her 11th straight win over Sharapova.

The American has passed Steffi Graf's number of titles in this competition and became the oldest female champion at the tournament, while Sharapova has now been defeated in every one of her five final appearances in Miami.

Champion: Serena Williams holds the Sony Open trophy aloft in Miami

Champion: Serena Williams holds the Sony Open trophy aloft in Miami

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

History: The world No 1 became the oldest female winner of the tournament

Dominant: Williams beat Maria Sharapova (left) for the 11th time in a row

Dominant: Williams beat Maria Sharapova (left) for the 11th time in a row

After playing flawless tennis for an hour, Sharapova began to miss with her serve, and Williams dominated rallies with her power.

Sharapova built her lead by keeping Williams on the defensive, and she kissed the line with a winner on consecutive points to break for a 3-2 advantage in the second set.

But then came the turnaround. Williams began to capitalise on Sharapova's tentative second serve and broke back to love before taking advantage of two double faults by Sharapova to break again for a 5-3 lead.

Strong start: Sharapova edged ahead after winning a tight first set 6-4

Strong start: Sharapova edged ahead after winning a tight first set 6-4

Rampant: The American lost only 10 points in the final set to beat her Russian opponent

Rampant: The American lost only 10 points in the final set to beat her Russian opponent

Repeat: Williams became the first No 1 seed to lift the women's title in Miami since she won nine years ago

Repeat: Williams became the first No 1 seed to lift the women's title in Miami since she won nine years ago

Williams lost only 10 points in the final set and closed out the victory with a service winner.

'Maria definitely pushed me – she did a really great job today,' Williams said after he win.

'I look forward to our next matches – it's going to be really fun for the fans and for us and for everyone.'

Williams became the first No 1 seed to win the women's title since she was champion nine years ago.

Sharapova, who won the title in Indian Wells at the beginning of March, said: 'It's obviously been a really nice month.

'It's disappointing to end it like this but Serena played a great match and I'm sure we'll play a few more times this year.'

Brad Gilbert: Even after a four hour bout with Federer, Murray will edge out Djokovic too

Even after a four hour bout with Federer, Murray will edge out Djokovic too

By
Brad Gilbert

PUBLISHED:

01:12 GMT, 26 January 2013

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UPDATED:

09:16 GMT, 26 January 2013

After a four-hour match against Roger Federer, Andy Murray has a day less to prepare for the final than Novak Djokovic. But Andy is a very fit guy, and I’m not sure it makes that much difference.

It is not like the US Open where there is no rest day at all. Djokovic will know he had a cakewalk in the semis against David Ferrer; that will give him a little edge.

He made the world No 4 look like the No 100. He has won this title three times before. It is his most successful major.

Andy Murray has cut down on his tantrums and become far more focused on court

Head in the game: Andy Murray has cut down on his tantrums and become far more focused on court

He has a day less to rest and prepare for the final than Djokovic

Ice bath: He has a day less to rest and prepare for the final than Djokovic

Andy is playing as well as I have ever seen him. His serve is more accurate and heavy than before and his forehand is improved, too.

A few years ago, a lot of Andy’s game was about great defence, amazing movement and his backhand. But watching him against Federer, I was thinking it has been quite some transformation as his serve and forehand were the dominant shots.

He’s much more aggressive now and he’s not relying on defence any more.

He still has that in his locker but he’s much more attacking. It is partly down to confidence. He’s hitting a lot more winners. He served 21 aces against Federer, more than four times as many as the Swiss.

To have served only two double faults in the tournament is incredible. He will need to keep up that level as he is playing the world’s best returner.

Before, he too often was getting only 55 per cent of his first serves in. Now it’s 10 per cent higher. He can be freer on the court and take more risks.

Federer was gracious in defeat and admitted Murray outplayed him and deserved to win

Honest: Federer was gracious in defeat and admitted Murray outplayed him and deserved to win

His attitude is better, too. After that altercation in the fourth set with the umpire, he didn’t lose focus or mutter to his support team. He went and won the fifth instead.

It’s great watching him focusing on his tennis rather than getting distracted during matches.

Unfortunately for Andy, Djokovic does not have a weakness. His serve and forehand are also better than they have ever been.

Murray's serve demolished Federer for most of the match

Weapon: Murray's serve demolished Federer for most of the match

The pair are mirror images of each other and the world’s two best players at the moment. It will come down to who executes the big points best.

What will also be key is who can defend their second serve better. Andy showed resolve in his US Open final win against Djokovic. I’m sure that came from talking to Ivan Lendl about his experiences at the top.

I don’t think you’ll see the same probing rallies as in New York but more attacking, shorter rallies. It will be cool, which slows the court, too.

This match is what we call in American football a 'pick-em' – it's too close to call.

My hunch, though, is that Murray will edge it.

After looking rocking against Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic cruised past David Ferrer

Warning signs: After looking rocking against Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic cruised past David Ferrer

Laura Robson sails through in China

Easy does it, Laura… Britain's Robson sails through in China

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 30 December 2012

Laura Robson took only an hour to move into the second round of the Shenzhen Open as she overpowered Edina Gallovits-Hill 6-2 6-1.

Given the Briton came into the match ranked 54 places higher than her opponent at 53, she was the clear favourite to win.

Looking good: Laura Robson claimed a comfortable win

Looking good: Laura Robson claimed a comfortable win

The 17-year-old was far more ruthless on serve, winning 80 per cent of her first service points.

The Romanian also contributed to her own downfall with eight double faults and she was dominated in all aspects of the game.

Robson will meet Gallovits-Hall's compatriot Monica Niculescu in the second round in what promises to be a closer match given the British No 2 is ranked just five places higher.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan also advanced easily, beating Hungary's Melina Czhink 6-3, 6-2. Hsieh broke her opponent twice in the first set and four times in the second to win in 1 hour, 15 minutes.

In Sunday's other matches, Annika Beck of Germany beat Spain's Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-7 (7), 6-4, and Monica Niculescu of Romania ousted Chinese wild-card entry Saisai Zheng 6-4, 7-5.

Arsene Wenger must go: This Arsenal fan has had enough

Wenger must go! Why this Arsenal fan has decided enough is enough after Capital One Cup calamity at Bradford

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UPDATED:

09:43 GMT, 12 December 2012

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New low: Arsene Wenger watched his Arsenal side crash out of the League Cup at Bradford

Forget their current form, injuries or any other extenuating circumstances, it was a shameful night for all involved.

The League Cup quarter-final result will go down in history, the lead in those 'It's happened before' newspaper items many years from now.

'Valley of despair', one headline screamed. Valley of the damned, I'd prefer. It was the final straw.

I've known about the faults for several seasons but it took something genuinely embarrassing to finally admit as much.

For almost every other shortcoming of the last eight years, excuses have been made, but Tuesday night was inexcusable.

Unhappy hunting ground: Wenger had a night to forget at the home of the League Two outfit

Unhappy hunting ground: Wenger had a night to forget at the home of the League Two outfit

For a team like that to put on a performance so lacking in every ingredient essential to competitive sport, blame falls at the door of one man; the man who prepared them.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. A man, a revolutionary so woven into the fabric of one of world football's most prestigious clubs, who has surpassed the achievements of all those who came before him in 126 years of glorious history. A man whose name should replace that of 'Emirates' on the stadium his genius helped build. He deserves better than this.

But while Wenger has earned the right to depart on his terms, the longer the 63-year-old refuses to walk, if only from the dugout to the boardroom, the less attractive the proposition he hands over becomes.

Arsenal is not a hard sell to prospective employees – more than a century of success has seen to that.

They should be looking no further than the very top drawer for their next manager. Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will expect an approach, and fans should have every reason to assume a name of that calibre will come in.

Paying the penalty: Arsenal's big names had to come to terms with their Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford

Paying the penalty: Arsenal's big names had to come to terms with their Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford

Wenger himself has done his part to prepare for the smoothest of transitions. But in this money-no-object-era, principles and integrity can only get you so far, and all his fine work of the last 16 years is in danger of being undone.

How would Klopp or Guardiola feel about home games in front of a three-quarter full stadium compared with near 100,000 at the Nou Camp or the infamous south stand at the Westfalenstadion

Would either be enthralled at the prospect of spending time picking up the pieces of shattered confidence strewn across London Colney, or working with players slavishly devoted to a previous manager rather than the club The answer, of course, is no.

These are worrying times at Arsenal brought on by the fact Wenger's lost his mojo. He's lost it in the transfer market, on the training ground and even in public.

Reflecting on the shootout defeat at the Coral Windows Stadium, he said he couldn't fault his team and then walked out of the broadcast interview.

Well I can pick plenty of holes. So, too, can those who travelled to support the spiritless, disinterested, shoddy excuse for a team – an almost full-strength one, no less – put out by a manger clearly desperate to win the competition this year.

Dud: Gervinho summed up Arsenal's night with a shocking miss in front of goal

Dud: Gervinho summed up Arsenal's night with a shocking miss in front of goal

And herein lies a problem. No-one has ever been held accountable for their mistakes under Wenger. In his admittedly admirable approach, he's not so much the first line of defence, but the only one, the bodyguard, the father figure for those who let him down with such worrying frequency.

With no fear of repercussions for a poor day at the office, standards inevitably slip. If your position isn't under threat – something accentuated by the dearth of quality throughout the rest of the squad – why raise your game

In the transfer window, the myth that Wenger doesn't spend exists because he sells his most valuable assets at a high price. In fact he merely replaces the departed with several significantly inferior others.

What is true is that he no longer spends wisely; you can get two Javier Hernandez's for one Gervinho, for example.

Wenger used to know where to find a deal, now all he seems to find are duds. And no longer do I believe he can turn it around.

Don't look now: Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen missed the final penalty

Don't look now: Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen missed the final penalty

On the rare occasions his team does click, it can barely hold a flame to the Invincibles team. The difference is as stark as the speed of the decline, lacking the flair and thrill, and the steal and bloody-mindedness of the 2004 Wenger vintage.

Neither does he. The smile, the suave soundbites, the touchlines jigs, even the technical area temper tantrums, they're all gone, beaten out of him by the initial burden of the Emirates Stadium move and then the Russian roubles and Arab oil money injected into the Premier League.

There is no shame having been beaten in this distorted landscape, when plenty of others would simply have walked away at the first time of asking. That isn't his style, and we're forever grateful for that, as we are for his unwavering commitment to our cause. But it is that blinkered obsession with 'the right way' that could now cost us all dear.

Sorry, Arsene, it's for the best.

Serena Williams beats Li Na at WTA Championships

Williams records second win in Turkey as Azarenka closes in on No 1 spot

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UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 25 October 2012

Serena Williams is on the verge of reaching the WTA Championships semi-finals after beating former French Open champion Li Na.

The American triumphed 7-6, 6-3 for her second win in round-robin matches.

In the other Red Group encounter, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka saved two match points before rallying past Angelique Kleber of Germany 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in her first match at the event.

Doubling up: Serena Williams has won her first two matches in Turkey

Doubling up: Serena Williams has won her first two matches in Turkey

Williams had six double-faults and won only 51 per cent of points on her first serve. But Li also struggled on serve – there were eight breaks in the first set and three more in the second.

'My serve just didn't go in. Every time I got my first serve in, I was surprised,' Williams said. 'But knowing I was able to still, for me, zero serve compared to how I normally serve – I think it's something good I can take out of the match.'

She has won 28 of her past 29 matches and captured Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Olympic titles this year. The highest ranking she can achieve at the end of the year is No 2 because of injuries and missed tournaments.

At one point, Williams got so frustrated at dropping serve that she smashed her racket.

'No, I don't break rackets in matches. Although I didn't hit it hard,' she said. 'Maybe I don't know my own strength.'

The first set was full of missed opportunities. The eighth-ranked Li took a 4-1 lead before Williams won the next four games. Serving for the set, the American again dropped serve. Li was unable to hold, though, and Williams had another chance to serve out the set – only to lose it at love.

On the verge: Victoria Azarenka looks set to end the year ranked No 1

On the verge: Victoria Azarenka looks set to end the year ranked No 1

Williams took control of the match in the second set by saving a breakpoint – in a game that lasted nine minutes – to hold and lead 4-1.

The American wasted two match points to break Li, but closed it out on her own serve when the Chinese player sent a forehand long.

Both Azarenka and Kleber smashed rackets in the second, highly entertaining match.

Kleber is making her debut in the event after winning two titles and climbing to No 5 this year after finishing 2011 at No 32. She was down a break in the second set, but led 5-4 after prevailing in a game that went to nine deuces and lasted 13 1/2 minutes.

Azarenka then saved two match points before capturing the second tiebreaker. The Belarusian closed it out on Kerber's serve, hitting a forehand winner on her first match point.

Azarenka needs one more round-robin win to secure the No 1 ranking for the year.

Earlier, defending champion Petra Kvitova withdrew from the tournament because of a viral illness and was replaced by Samantha Stosur.

The event splits players into two groups, with the top two in each advancing.

Sir Alex Ferguson was wrong to criticise Rio Ferdinand: COMMENT

Sami Mokbel: Fergie's wrong! How can he condemn a man for his principles

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

21:45 GMT, 21 October 2012

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UPDATED:

00:09 GMT, 22 October 2012

For once, Sir Alex Ferguson got it completely wrong on Saturday.

His public criticism of Rio Ferdinand for the veteran defender’s refusal to wear a Kick It Out T-shirt ahead of the win over Stoke was a glaring misjudgement.

Yes, he might be the most successful manager these shores have ever produced. But who is he to condemn a 33-year-old man for his principles

Embarrassed: Sir Alex Ferguson hit out at Rio Ferdinand after the defender's snub

Embarrassed: Sir Alex Ferguson hit out at Rio Ferdinand after the defender's snub

Embarrassed: Sir Alex Ferguson hit out at Rio Ferdinand after the defender's snub

How exactly has Ferdinand embarrassed Ferguson By making a decision in accordance with his values Nonsense. And why exactly was Ferguson going to ‘deal with’ Ferdinand for standing up for what he believes in

Ironically, Ferdinand, Joleon Lescott and Jason Roberts’ decision not to wear the shirt has put the Kick It Out campaign in the spotlight more than ever before. I did not agree with Ferdinand’s decision to snub the Kick It Out shirt before the clash against Stoke.

We should all support the campaign.

Yes, it may have its faults — but on the whole the organisation does fantastic work towards combating racism in football.

But it should be left to the individual to decide whether he wants to back it — and that person should be able to make his mind up without the threat of being publicly condemned.

US Open 2012: Maria Sharapova beats Marion Bartoli

Sharapova books US Open semi-final clash with Azarenka after digging deep to beat Bartoli

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UPDATED:

19:59 GMT, 5 September 2012

Maria Sharapova maintained her remarkable record in deciding sets to defeat Marion Bartoli and reach the US Open semi-finals for the first time since winning the title six years ago.

Not since her third-round loss to Flavia Pennetta here 12 months ago has Sharapova lost a three-set match, winning 12 out of 12 this season.

She was pushed to the limit by Bartoli, who had led 4-0 when rain forced the match to be postponed yesterday, but eventually came through 3-6 6-3 6-4 to set up a meeting with world number one Victoria Azarenka.

Job done! Maria Sharapova had to dig deep to beat Marion Bartoli

Job done! Maria Sharapova had to dig deep to beat Marion Bartoli

Rain had come to Sharapova's aid in her fourth-round match against Nadia Petrova when she had looked in trouble early in the deciding set, and the Russian certainly would not have been disappointed by yesterday's abrupt halt.

Bartoli had completely outplayed her rival for four games but the question was whether she would be able to maintain it.

The initial signs were not good for the Frenchwoman as Sharapova won the first two games on the resumption, which was again twice delayed by more heavy showers.

But Bartoli held on to her advantage from there and served out the set, letting out a loud yell of 'allez' as Sharapova netted a forehand return.

It was the first set 11th seed Bartoli had won against the Russian in five matches, although this was only their second meeting in five years.

Relief: Sharapova booked a spot in the semi-final against Victoria Azarenka

Relief: Sharapova booked a spot in the semi-final against Victoria Azarenka

Relief: Sharapova booked a spot in the semi-final against Victoria Azarenka

Both players were struggling on serve and, after exchanging breaks at the start of the second set, their combined tally of double faults was up to 12, seven of them to Sharapova.

The Russian came under severe pressure again in the third game of the set but saved four break points, and it was a key moment as she gradually began to take control.

The third seed broke again to lead 5-3 with a forehand winner drilled down the line and levelled the match with her fifth ace.

Sharapova really had the bit between her teeth and she broke the Bartoli serve to lead 2-1 in the decider only for the Frenchwoman to hit back.

It was an epic struggle but Sharapova struck a major blow in the ninth game with another break, leaving her serving for a place in the last four.

And she did not falter, keeping alive her hopes of a second grand slam title of the year after completing her career slam at the French Open in June.

Sharapova said: 'The rain break gave me a few hours to think about things. I came out so flat yesterday. She's so tough and she was on fire.

'I'm so happy to get back to the semi-finals.'

Tough cookie: Bartoli provided a real challenge for the Russian to overcome

Tough cookie: Bartoli provided a real challenge for the Russian to overcome

Enjoying it US basketball star Tyson Chandler turned up to watch the match at Flushing Meadows

Enjoying it US basketball star Tyson Chandler turned up to watch the match at Flushing Meadows

US Open 2012: Angelique Kerber beats Venus Williams

Kerber keeps it up against the Williams sisters with battling win over Venus

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UPDATED:

06:13 GMT, 31 August 2012

Sixth seed Angelique Kerber continued her winning streak against the Williams sisters with a dramatic victory over Venus on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

With Venus unseeded after a tough year following her revelation in New York 12 months ago that she was suffering from the auto-immune disease Sjogren's Syndrome, there was always the possibility of a big match early on.

Last year's tournament held different memories for German Kerber, who has not looked back since her surprise run to the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows, and she battled to a 6-2 5-7 7-5 win after two hours and 45 minutes.

Through: Angelique Kerber celebrates her win

Through: Angelique Kerber celebrates her win

Kerber has now beaten Venus three times this season while she is also the only woman to have beaten title favourite Serena since the French Open in May.

Venus has shown signs of better form recently but a tally of 60 unforced errors, including a mammoth 16 double faults, eventually proved her undoing.

The 32-year-old American showed terrific spirit in the second set, three times fighting back from a break down, including when Kerber served for the match at 5-4.

And it was Venus who made the first move in the decider to lead 4-2 before Kerber hit straight back.

She was two points from defeat at 4-5 30-30 but nailed a forehand down the line and Venus would probably rather forget the last two games.

Kerber said: 'It's unbelievable. It started one year ago and I have great memories. This match was so tough and so close. Venus is such a great player and I'm very happy to beat her here.

Errors: Venus Williams played an erratic match

Errors: Venus Williams played an erratic match

'Everybody was against me but it doesn't matter, it was such great support. I just tried to focus on me and fight for every point until the last one. I'm very happy to be in the third round.'

The Williams sisters have had a complicated relationship at times with US crowds but there was no doubt who the noisy fans were cheering tonight.

Venus said: 'This is the first time I've ever played here that the crowd has been behind me like that. Today I felt American for the first time at the US Open. I've waited my whole career to have this moment and here it is.

'It was awesome. It felt like winning gold. It really meant something. I'm looking forward to having that support in doubles and next year as well.'

Venus looked understandably disconsolate as she left the court, adding: 'Being on the losing end of a match like this isn't a lot of fun but that's sport.

Not fun: Williams, unsurprisingly, did not enjoy her defeat

Not fun: Williams, unsurprisingly, did not enjoy her defeat

'Today all I had was fight because I didn't play well. I made 60 errors so it's very difficult to win a match like that.

'I was fighting her and me. But I know one day I'm going to play her and make less errors. Unfortunately it wasn't today.'

Childhood friend Andy Roddick announced today that he would be retiring from the sport after the tournament but Venus still feels she has unfinished business with tennis.

She said: 'If I could have made two more shots, I probably could have won that match. I think there's a big difference for me because I'm beating myself.

'If I was out there and people were killing me, maybe it's time to hang it up. But right now I have to find the answer inside myself.'

US OPEN 2012: Serena Williams easily win round one

No problem! Olympic champ Williams easily downs Vandeweghe at Flushing Meadows

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UPDATED:

07:59 GMT, 29 August 2012

Serena Williams was in fine form as she began her US Open campaign with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over fellow American Coco Vandeweghe.

The fourth seed went into the tournament as the title favourite and that will certainly not have changed after this performance, although she was not given much of a test.

Vandeweghe struggled with the breezy conditions, especially on her serve, sending down six double faults and only holding serve once in the whole match.

Spotlight: Serena Williams had absolutely no problem overcoming Coco Vandeweghe

Spotlight: Serena Williams had absolutely no problem overcoming Coco Vandeweghe

That came at the start of the second set, with her sole game of the opening set coming when she broke Williams after losing the first four games.

Williams, who lost to Sam Stosur in the final last year, has had a brilliant summer, winning her fifth Wimbledon title and then adding Olympic gold in both the singles and doubles at the All England Club earlier this month.

In the second round the 30-year-old will play Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, who she has beaten in all three of their previous meetings.

Nike and easy: Williams dropped just two games as she romped into the second round

Nike and easy: Williams dropped just two games as she romped into the second round

Williams felt the windy conditions dictated the nature of the match.

She said: 'It was blowing a lot at the Olympics. I think this may have been more than the Olympics. I usually gauge the wind by my hair. If it's really going forward I'm thinking it's really windy.

'The match was so weird, the conditions were so tough. I couldn't really play my game. She couldn't really play her game.'

Wimbledon 2012: Serena Williams questions championship security

Williams questions Wimbledon security after she is mobbed by fans following win

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UPDATED:

21:39 GMT, 2 July 2012

Serena Williams said Wimbledon schedulers should take security into account before putting her on Court No 2 in future.

The sixth seed was ‘almost knocked over’ by dozens of excited fans following her win over Yaroslava Shvedova on Monday.

Getting through: Serena Williams celebrates her fourth round win over Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova

Getting through: Serena Williams celebrates her fourth round win over Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova

Four-time champion Serena made the
quarter finals by winning a tough encounter 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 then faced
another fight on her 170-yard walk to the locker rooms.

She said: ‘I literally was almost knocked over.

‘There were security guards in there just going nuts and screaming.

Recognisable face: Williams says she was mobbed by fans after her match on Court No 2

Recognisable face: Williams says she was mobbed by fans after her match on Court No 2

‘I’ve never heard them scream so loud. It was crazy out there. I was totally mobbed.

‘I thought I was going to fall down.
Maybe it can be taken into consideration.’ Asked if she was frightened,
Williams, 30, smiled: ‘No, I wasn’t scared. ‘Nobody is going to knock me
over, for real. I’d like to see that happen.

‘Maybe that’s why I got on Court No 2, because they knew I could back myself up.

Looking for another title: Williams has won Wimbledon four times and is looking for a fifth

Looking for another title: Williams has won Wimbledon four times and is looking for a fifth

‘I guess I really didn’t need (the security)!’

It was a tough match, too. The
decider went with serve until 5-5 when Shvedova sent over two double
faults in a row to hand Williams the decisive break. The American still
needed the luck of an unintentional lob, which lofted over a stranded
Shvedova, to fight back from 0-30 in the final game to rubber stamp
victory.

Cue a trademark Serena scream of delight, and that tussle through the throng.