An all-American final, this compelling match (at 2 hours 45 minutes) has the honour of being the longest women’s final in Wimbledon history. Williams, who came in as the 14th seed, won her third Venus Rosewater Dish here, seeing out her opponent with relentless groundstrokes and powerplay. Davenport, who at one point even served for the championship, simply had no answer. This epic also proved to be the doughty Davenport’s last appearance in a Grand Slam final.
This was the match in which a teenaged Maria Sharapova announced her arrival on the big stage. In the final, the 17-year-old Russian was up against the defending champion and top seed, Serena Williams. Any other youngster would have been overawed by the powerful American and her tennis. But Sharapova held her own, stunning Williams with her powerful serve and commanding groundstrokes. For Williams, this proved to be one of her worst defeats in a Grand Slam final.
Against the diminutive Belgian, Mauresmo had a point to prove in this final. Earlier in the year, the two had met in the Australian Open final, which had turned out to be a no-contest. During the match, Henin-Hardenne pulled out due to a stomach ailment, which gave Mauresmo a hollow victory. Having been accused of choking on big occasions, Mauresmo wanted to shake off that particular tag. Displaying some remarkable serve-and-volley skills, the Frenchwoman beat her opponent to rightfully claim a Grand Slam crown.
The level and quality of tennis demonstrated by both the players makes this one of the classic women’s matches of all time. While top-seeded Hingis, at one point, was trying to take some of the power off Williams’s majestic serve, the American stayed on the offensive, smashing her way all round the court. Williams would go on to win her first Wimbledon trophy, one of many to come.
The 2008 encounter was special as it was the first Grand Slam final between the Williams sisters in five years (the seventh overall). This was also the third Wimbledon final between the two, with Serena having won in 2002 and 2003. Around this time, women’s tennis was dominated by the duo and was all about them – the lithe and grace of the older Venus, and the power and athleticism of the younger Serena. Venus, however, prevailed in straight sets, winning her seventh Grand Slam title as well as her fifth Wimbledon crown.