Serena Williams wins 4th Wimbledon title

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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams swept Vera Zvonareva in straight sets Saturday to win her fourth Wimbledon title and 13th Grand Slam championship, extending the Williams family dominance at the All England Club.

The top-ranked and defending champion American overwhelmed the 21st-seeded Russian 6-3, 6-2 in a one-sided final that lasted just 67 minutes and showed why Williams is considered one of the greatest players of all time.

Williams served nine aces, broke three times and never faced a break point in nine service games. She finished the tournament without dropping a set.

After converting an overhead smash to finish the match, Williams tossed her racket away, bent backward, looked to the sky, shook her fists and screamed.

Williams, who improved her record to 13-3 in Grand Slam finals, added to the Wimbledon titles she won in 2002, 2003 and 2009. However, this was the first time she defeated someone other than her sister Venus in the final.

The Williams sisters have now won nine of the last 11 Wimbledon titles. Venus beat Serena in 2008 for her fifth title here.

“My dream was able to come true,” Serena said after accepting the Venus Rosewater Dish from the Duke of Kent with a curtsy. “Everyone’s dream can come true if you just stick to it and work hard. This one is very special.”

Serena, who has won five of the last eight Grand Slams, moved ahead of Billie Jean King into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list of women’s Grand Slam champions with 13, the most of any active woman player. Williams also has five Australian Opens, three U.S. Opens and one French Open.

Williams turned to King, who was sitting in the Royal Box, and said: “Hey, Billie — I got you. This is No. 13 for me now. It’s just amazing to able to be among such great people.”

King grinned and applauded.

“That’s actually my lucky number,” Williams said of No. 13.

Margaret Smith Court leads the Grand Slam list with 24 titles, followed by Steffi Graf with 22, Helen Wills Moody with 19 and Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with 18.

“At the rate she’s going, she certainly may catch me and Chris and Helen Wills Moody and who knows, maybe even Steffi,” Navratilova said. “She’s just head and shoulders above everybody else, and those are pretty broad shoulders she’s got.”

Williams graciously congratulated Zvonareva, who played in her first Grand Slam final and was the second-lowest ranked women’s finalist ever at Wimbledon.

“Everyone should give her a big round of applause,” Williams said. “She defines what being a champion and never giving up means.”

Zvonareva didn’t look intimidated and kept close early in the match, but the contest swung in Williams favor when she broke for 5-3.

Williams squandered her first break point with a return error, but then hit a perfect backhand lob at deuce to set up another. This time, she ripped a running forehand passing shot down the line, and celebrated by dropping onto her right knee and pumping her left fist.

Williams broke again to open the second set and again to go up 4-1 when Zvonareva double-faulted on the third break point of the game.

“I think I’m a little bit disappointed at the moment,” Zvonareva said. “Maybe I was not able to show my best today, but I think Serena just didn’t allow me to show my best.”

Despite the score, Zvonareva claimed Williams is beatable.

“She’s a human being. She’s not a machine,” the Russian said. “It’s very difficult to beat her. You have to play your best. But if you do, you can do it.”

As has been the case throughout the two weeks, Williams’ big serve was the dominant factor on Saturday.

Williams won 31 of 33 points when her first serve was good. She hit her fastest serve — 122 mph — for an ace in the final game. She finished the tournament with a record 89 aces.

“I honestly never served like this,” Williams said. “At Wimbledon whenever I come on this grass and play on this amazing court I start serving well.”

Williams also won all 14 points when she came to the net, and had 29 winners to only nine for Zvonareva.

Posing for photographers, Serena held the trophy on the balcony above the club entrance, then walked through the entrance and twirled and skipped while still holding the trophy as military personnel stationed in the lobby applauded.

The men’s final will be played Sunday, with No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal going for his second Wimbledon title and eighth Grand Slam overall against 12th-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

Nadal has won 13 straight matches here and 25 of 27, with the only losses coming against Roger Federer in the 2006 and 2007 finals. Nadal beat Federer in the epic 2008 title match, but was unable to defend his crown last year because of tendinitis in his knees.

Berdych upset six-time champion Federer in the quarterfinals.

It will be Nadal’s 10th Grand Slam final; Berdych’s first.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.