Serena’s lucky 13th

used to be difficult for Serena Williams, whose dad made her and elder sister
Venus practice twice daily on the public tennis courts of the Los Angeles
suburb of Compton.

Williams raised 13 fingers on
Saturday to her father, Richard, on the Centre Court of Wimbledon after beating
Russia’s Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2 for her fourth trophy on the London grass
courts. Her 13th Grand Slam singles title moved her one ahead of mentor Billie
Jean King, who applauded the American from the Royal Box.

At least one of the sisters has
appeared in 10 of the last 11 Wimbledon finals.

Serena also won in 2002, 2003 and
2009. Venus won her fifth title in 2008, beating her younger sister. In the
past decade, only Russia’s Maria Sharapova in 2004 and Amelie Mauresmo of
France in 2006 have broken the Williams’s domination.

Williams produced a new Wimbledon
women’s record of 89 aces on her way to the title. She faced no break points
against Zvonareva in the final. “The French Open is why my serve is so good, because
I thought I served so bad in my quarter-final match,” Williams said.

After she blew a match point and
lost to eventual Roland Garros finalist Samantha Stosur of Australia in three
sets, Williams flew home right away to practice her serve instead of a day or
two later.

Serena now ranks sixth on the
career list of major winners. She is five Grand Slam titles behind Chris Evert
and Martina Navratilova. Margaret Smith Court holds the record at 24, followed
by Steffi Graf with 22 and Helen Wills Moody with 19.