Venus Williams beats Marion Bartoli to triumph at Wimbledon

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Venus Williams in the 2006 Warsaw Cup.
Image: Anna Bialkowska.

Venus Williams triumphed over Marion Bartoli of France 6-4, 6-1 yesterday to win the Women's Singles event at the 2007 Wimbledon Championships.

For the first time, an American and Frenchwoman were matched up to compete for the British women's singles title. A Wimbledon champion in 2000, 2001 and 2005, Williams was not the favorite to win the title again this year. Currently ranked 23rd in the world, she entered the tournament in the shadow of her sister, Serena Williams.

At the beginning of the tennis season, Serena stated her own determination to reclaim the No. 1 ranking. Serena showed better than Venus at the French Open by reaching the quarter finals, and won the Australian Open in January (Venus dropped out due to an injury). In spite of her initial strength, Serena's hopes to dominate the tournament were cut short when she lost to No. 1 seeded Justine Henin in the quarterfinals.

Marion Bartoli, 2005 JP Morgan Chase Open.
Image: Matthew McPherson.

Bartoli, the eighteenth seed for this year's championships, had never progressed past the fourth round of any Grand Slam event. However, she progressed to the final by defeating third seed Jelena Janković in the fourth round and Justine Henin in the semifinals in one of the major upsets of Wimbledon history.

As Henin lost to Bartoli in the semifinals, Venus Williams was poised to become the lowest seeded player in recorded history to win the Wimbledon singles title. With powerhouse serves and an aggressive ground strokes battle, she did just that. Williams comfortably knocked out Bartoli in two straight sets, with match point accidentally striking Bartoli in the wrist.

Venus was reunited with the Venus Rosewater Dish on Centre Court during the trophy ceremony. Another first, the All England Club is paying men's and women's singles champions equal prize money. Venus was paid $1.407 million, to which she replied "Thank you, All England Club - we're playing under equal terms."

The men's final takes place later today with first seed and defending champion Roger Federer taking on second seed Rafael Nadal in a repeat of last year's final.