Williams duo claim doubles crown on unforgettable day

Click to follow
The Independent Online

After the sisters, the twins, and then the sisters again. The Williams' fellow Americans, twins Bob and Mike Bryan, kept them waiting some three hours during a marathon men's doubles final before permitting a return to Centre Court. Where the United States' challenge faltered in defeat by Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, however, the sister act revived it by defeating the Australians Sam Stosur and Rennae Stubbs 7-6 6-4 to retain their title.

So Independence Day concluded with another nice payday in the Williams household. With career earnings of more than $30 million each (£18.27m), money is hardly the incentive, but when the last ball was struck, the sisters had won a cool £1.5m for their fortnight's work. It was not ideal for them to be returning to the scene of the earlier drama for a minor plot, even after such a long rest, and Serena in particular was well below the standard of the singles final. Her volleying was poor, her service unpredictable, and Venus, despite looking uncomfortable with her bandaged knee, often had to do the bulk of the work. But what's a big sister for?

It was a 39th Grand Slam title between them, and a ninth doubles together, including four at Wimbledon. Serena dropped her serve at the first time of asking but the sisters broke back to love against the 38-year-old Stubbs. From there, determination seemed to increase, the grunts grew in intensity and the first set was won 7-4 in the tie-break.

The Australians, seeded third here, were if anything better at the net than their opponents but nothing much went their way. A double-fault by Stubbs set up the break in the second set and by 9pm there was a second triumph of the day for Serena and a consolation prize for Venus.

Earlier the Bryans were ground down 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-3 by the champions and second seeds Nestor and Zimonjic, who have often been their nemesis. In nine meetings – all, amazingly, in a final – they have now won six. Those previous meetings had normally been tight, which set the tone for this one: high quality and few mistakes but so much successful serving that it was destined to be a long slog.

There was not so much as a break point or even a 0-30 until midway through the third set, by which stage each pair had won a tie-break. With the exuberant Serb Zimonjic slowly emerging as the dominant figure, he and his partner took the third set on a tie-break, then broke through early in the fourth to take it, and the title.

Comments