Serena beats Radwanska for fifth Wimbledon title

811560.png

Serena beats Radwanska for fifth Wimbledon title

WIMBLEDON, England -- Serena Williams is back, and she looks almost as good as ever. The 30-year-old American won her fifth Wimbledon title Saturday on Centre Court, beating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 to claim her 14th major championship. After hitting a backhand winner on match point, she fell onto her back to the grass. She then rose with a grin as big sister Venus -- another five-time Wimbledon champion -- smiled and applauded, along with the rest of the crowd. After shaking hands with Radwanska, Williams climbed into the box where her family was seated. She hugged her father, Venus, their mother and others. "I can't even describe it. I almost didn't make it," said Williams, who has battled health issues since winning the 2010 Wimbledon title. "A few years ago, you know, I was in the hospital, and now I'm here again. It's so worth it, and I'm so happy." Out on court, Williams had little trouble at the start, using her hard serve and powerful groundstrokes to win the first five games and run Radwanska all over the grass. Radwanska, who was playing in her first Grand Slam final, has been ill with a respiratory problem, making it difficult for her to speak. In the second set and already down a break, the third-seeded Pole was coughing and blowing her nose during a changeover. But she broke Williams in the next game to even the score at 4-4, and then broke again to win the second set. Williams responded in the third set, breaking twice and serving out to win another major title. Williams finished with 58 winners to 13 for Radwanska, including an edge of 20-3 in the final set. Williams lost only eight points on her first serve. "Aggie played so well. That's why she has had such a great career, and so young," Williams told the crowd. "You guys should give her another round of applause because she's amazing and she did an amazing job today." The match was played with the Centre Court roof open, and it was delayed by rain for a short time after the first set. "Serena played too good today, but I'm just very happy to be here in the final," Radwanska said. "It was not my day. I'll try just next year. We'll see." Later Saturday, Serena and Venus Williams will play in the doubles final. A little more than a month ago, many started writing Williams off for good. She lost in the first round of this year's French Open, the first time she had ever exited a Grand Slam tournament that early. But at Wimbledon, she looked every bit a champion again. She broke her own tournament record for aces in a match with 23 against Zheng Jie in the third round. Less than a week later, she eclipsed that mark with 24 against Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals. On Saturday, she finished with 17 aces and a record 102 for the tournament. It was Williams' first Grand Slam title since she won at the All England Club two years ago. Shortly after winning that title, Williams cut her feet on glass at a restaurant, leading to a series of health problems, including being hospitalized for clots in her lungs. "I never dreamt of being here again, being so down," Williams said. "Never give up. You can continue." Williams is the first woman in her 30s to win a Wimbledon title since Martina Navratilova, who won at the All England Club in 1990 when she was 33. In the men's final on Sunday, six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer will face British hope Andy Murray. The fourth-seeded Murray is trying to become the first British man to win the title at the All England Club since Fred Perry in 1936.

Quick Links

Beal takes aim at Wizards rolling out red carpet on drives to the basket

Beal takes aim at Wizards rolling out red carpet on drives to the basket

The strength of the Denver Nuggets is the greatest weakness for the Wizards. They attack the basket, live inside the paint and can exploit a tender defense with simple pick-and-rolls.

They gave the Wizards (7-13) nightmares for the Wizards last season,winning 117-113 at Verizon Center which led to a players-only meeting and then scoring 41 points in the fourth quarter of a comeback using their bench 116-100 at home. 

"This is a team that loves to score the ball and who can score the ball," said Bradley Beal, who didn't speak after a 124-116 home loss to the Orlando Magic on Tuesday. "We have to know that coming in that each guy is wanting to go one-on-one, that each guy is capable of getting to the basket, and that's what they want to do. They have a few shooters. We want to keep them out of the paint as much as possible. It just comes down to defense."

The Wizards' defense was porous against Orlando which scored 31 above its season average. Denver (8-14) is playing the second game of a back-to-back and erased a 29-point lead in the third quarter to push the Brooklyn Nets to the brink on Wednesday. The Nets held on 116-111.

Beal has had the best season of his career. John Wall is having his, too, coming off a career-high 52 points. But the guard play of the Nuggets, Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, Jamal Murry and Jameer Nelson, can be problematic. 

"It's off the dribble. That's all it is," Beal said in explaining the matchup difficulty with Denver. "That's ... what's been hurting us. It's off-the-dribble, straight-line drives to the basket. You look at when teams play us, me and John don't have straight-line drives to the basket. They take those away. We have to do a better job of squaring our guy up and our bigs being able to help and everybody helping. We can't just rely on the guy guarding the ball to guard them all by himself. Everybody's a pro. Everybody's capable of scoring the ball. We have to make sure we help and we're all ont he same page and take pride in our one-on-one defense."

[RELATED: Wizards vs. Nuggets: How and what to watch]

Quick Links

Matt Niskanen day-to-day after brutal hit vs. Bruins; will not travel to Buffalo

Matt Niskanen day-to-day after brutal hit vs. Bruins; will not travel to Buffalo

Defenseman Matt Niskanen is day-to-day with an upper body injury, the Capitals announced on Thursday afternoon.

Niskanen will not travel to Buffalo for Friday’s game against the Sabres, the team added.

RELATED: CAPS DEFENSEMAN MATT NISKANEN TO BE REEVALUATED THURSDAY

Niskanen was injured in the first period of Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime over the Bruins when he was checked headfirst into the boards from behind by Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins center was assessed two minutes for boarding.

The Caps originally expected Niskanen to return, but he was eventually ruled out for the remainder of the game.

“He took a big hit,” Coach Barry Trotz said afterward. “He’s an important piece for us.”

It’s unclear how long Niskanen will be sidelined, though any amount of time he's out represents a blow to the Caps. The 30-year-old averages the second most ice time on the team and skates on both the penalty kill and power play.

After Wednesday’s game, Trotz said it was possible the team would recall a player from Hershey for the trip to Buffalo—just in case. No moves, however, had been announced as of early afternoon.

MORE CAPITALS: FROZEN MOMENTS