LONDON, July 7 (Agencies): The Serena Williams story will surely be made into a film one day, and the scenes that capture the emotional comeback from life-threatening health issues to her fifth Wimbledon singles title were played out for real. Williams overcame a serious bout of nerves when the end was in sight against Agnieszka Radwanska, before recovering to win 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, then throwing herself onto her back on the centre court grass.
Williams is the seventh different women�s champion from the past seven grand slams, and her victory did not just equal her sister Venus� Wimbledon haul, it delivered her 14th major title from 18 finals. At 30, she is the oldest champion since Martina Navratilova claimed the 1990 championship at the age of 33. After an achievement that she flagged as her most memorable, few doubt there will be more to come.
What was Radwanska�s debut major final was Williams� second since her return last June from a year sidelined with a lacerated foot and then a pulmonary embolism and hematoma. Her first ended with a stunning straight sets loss to Australian Sam Stosur at last year�s US Open; this one started predictably enough, to 6-1, 3-1, but then Radwanska capitalised on the fact that Williams was tightening, visibly. It seemed that she wanted this one almost too much.
Indeed, the Polish third seed won seven of the nine games during a period in which Williams appeared to be headed for a shock defeat against a player who could never match her for power, but has her own, more subtle skills, and continued to make her bigger, stronger opponent play.
Advertisement It was not until early in the third set that Williams was able to compose herself, galvanised by a four-ace game for 2-2. She ran through the next four, claiming the crucial double-break with an audacious forehand drop shot, and finished off Radwanska with a backhand down the line, her 58th winner, after the match clock had ticked past two hours.
For all her Martina Hingis-like skills and tactics, lovely timing and movement and lauded creativity, the concern always lingered that Williams would simply blow the 23-year-old away. And so it started out - although a brief rain delay perhaps allowed the quiet Pole a chance to gather herself, and made the second set far more competitive.
Radwanska, a first-time grand slam finalist also playing for the No.1 ranking, was punished for her short, please-hit-me second serves, and her inability to assert herself in the baseline rallies dominated by the power of one of the game�s finest grasscourt players. Williams did not serve quite as powerfully as in several of her previous rounds, but still finished with 17 aces, for 102 overall, to break her own tournament record from 2010.