Younger sibling made the right noises and was hungry for title

Serena wanted this title. She wanted it badly. We know this because she said so, several times, over the past fortnight. We know it because in her semi-final against Elena Dementieva, which she almost lost, she celebrated holding one vital service game by balling her fists and shaking them.

For a moment it seemed possible that she was about to leap the net and tear off the Russian's head with her bare hands, tip her upside down and drink her. She didn't do this, obviously. Not the done thing. But she was so pumped by not losing that game, it was frightening. That told us how much she wanted this.

Yesterday we knew she wanted it because of her fist clenches and pumps. She's not averse to a clench or pump against most people. It's part of who she is. But she tends not to clench and pump against Venus. Not the done thing, not to a sister you evidently like and respect so much.

Yet there she was yesterday, clenching and pumping. The first clench of significance came at the end of the eighth game of the first set. Serena was serving and had handed Venus two break points by dumping a forehand into the net. "Aaaagghhh!" she yelled.

She saved the first break point when Venus hit wide, and the second when Venus hit long. She moved to advantage with an ace, and took the game with another.

Then she clenched her left fist, tightly, drawing it slowly to her chest. She did not scream but the message was clear. She wanted this.

The first big fist pump confirmed what was obvious (she wanted this), and it came in the first-set tie-break, just after Serena had secured a mini-break on Venus's serve to go 6-2 ahead. She had won the point with one of those low, violent forehand cross-court winners that make the crowd go "Oooh!". She pumped her fist. She may have yelped a little but it was wasn't easy to hear, what with the applause. We also knew Serena wanted this by her noise emission on important points. This is best illustrated by describing a rally as she sought (unsuccessfully) to break Venus in the 11th game of the first set.

The rally was a mixture of brutal Venus double-handed backhands and savage Serena forehands. The latter part of the rally sounded as follows: "Uuugh!", "Aaaagh!", "Uuuugh!", "Aaaaaaaagh!", "Uuuuuugh!", "Oooh!" (that was the crowd) "Aaaagh!", ""Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh!". Serena won the point.

The only time it looked as if she might not want it was in what turned out to be the last game of the match, 5-2 to Serena in the second set with Venus serving.

Suddenly it looked like Serena didn't want it that much at all, wasting three match points, and "waste" is certainly not too strong a word for the first two of them.

The first was when Venus was making a second serve. It had spin but it was slow and somehow Serena whacked the ball well wide. The second was during a rally, with Serena on the left side of the court as a tame ball from her sibling sat up in front of her at a perfect height.

If tennis balls could talk, that ball would have begged: "Please, please, please, hit me in any direction you choose, at virtually any speed, and it'll be a winner." Instead, Serena played the dampest squib of a shot, allowing Venus to stay in the point, and then dumped a backhand into the net.

Serena admitted after the match that when Venus had finally hit a shot into the net to seal victory for her sister, her first thoughts were: "Thank God. Did she hit it in the net? I was thinking 'Thank goodness I didn't choke on another match point'.

"I feel so amazing. I'm so blessed. I feel like I shouldn't be holding the trophy. I can't believe I'm holding it and Venus isn't."

That's because Serena wanted this badly.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Sport
England’s opening goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew
FootballEngland must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Sport
Wigan Athletic’s back-of-the shirt sponsor Premier Range has pulled out due to Malky Mackay’s arrival
Football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines