6th July 2008. Saturday. The stage was set for an all American showdown in the centre court of the "All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club." The highlight of the match however, wasn't the fact that it became a thorough American affair; it was the renewed rivalry between the phenomenal Williams sisters which added spice to the already tempting palate.
The Williams sisters are perhaps one of their kind; forging a perfect partnership in the doubles and sharing an equally intense and passionate rivalry when facing each other in the singles.
The last time the sisters met at this very place was four years ago when younger sister Serena defeated Venus in a gruelling three setter thereby upping her record against Venus one more notch.
After a very nondescript performance at Roland Garros, exiting as early as the third round, the Williamses were ready to give everything at Wimbledon and so they did. Perhaps it was also the knowledge that if they made it past other opponents, they would have to meet each other, acting as a catalyst propelled them forward.
Richard and Oracene Williams would have been proud parents that day. After seeing both his daughters cementing their places in the finals, making sure that the silver plate was coming into the family, father Williams left for the States to watch his daughters from the television set leaving their mom to enjoy with her daughter's victory.
And then it was time. For Venus, it meant getting her fifth and for Serena, it meant making her sister wait for another agonising year.
Finally when the match actually began, the tension in the atmosphere was palpable; certain electricity seemed to be buzzing all over. If as just a mere viewer sitting in front of the T.V. set I happened to feel this way, I am sure the mood amongst the fans, the family and most importantly the players would have been indeed much more.
At first, it seemed Venus was falling prey to her nerves when Serena broke her in her first serve itself. Pretty soon Venus found herself trailing behind 2-4. Serena seemed to be cruising along having done her homework correctly.
Suddenly, it all changed. Momentum and confidence which belonged to Serena just a few games back appeared to exchange hands. Venus, came back strongly and was strong enough not to give Serena another chance to break her again. Finally she wrenched the first set 7-5.
Serena's fans would have expected another comeback and once again, like an almost replica of the first, Venus again showed some vulnerability; but not that much to let Serena take it from her hands. Both sisters persisted till the ninth game when Venus was leading 5-4 and Serena serving to stay in the match.
However, it appeared as if Venus had enough toying. She showed yet again why she relishes this part of the tour and winning here. Broke Serena's serve in the 10th game and that was it! She was evens with her sister, had won five Wimbledons, and her seventh Grand Slam overall.
But the part that I liked the most wasn't Venus winning Wimbledon five times. It was the bond that the sisters shared after her victory. Venus was exuberant and jubilant after her victory, never once did she gloat her victory over serena. On her part Serena, though sad after losing, wasn't even remotely jealous of her sister.
This is what which makes a Venus and Serena Williams match so special. When they arrive in the playing arena they arrive as opponents; during the match both play with zeal and determined to best the other and as soon the match ends they leave as siblings, as a family which delights in a member's success. No hard feelings, no rancour.
And the Wimbledon 2008 final, a final which featured the Williams sisters after a five year long absence was once again testimony to that.
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