Serena struggles to claim fifth Wimbledon title

By The Associated Press

LONDON — Serena Williams scraped to a fifth Wimbledon title on Saturday as she fought off a comeback effort from Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska to post a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 victory.

The American sixth seed who will move back to fourth on the WTA list, notched her 14th Grand Slam singles title in a little more than two hours in a match interrupted for 24 minutes after the first set by rain.

Williams prevented third seed Radwanska from becoming the first Pole to win a Grand Slam. The third seed also missed the chance to take over No. 1 but will stand second behind Victoria Azarenka on Monday’s rankings.

Williams claimed her first Grand Slam honor since winning Wimbledon, 2010. She and her sister Venus now each own five trophies from the All England club.

“I can’t even describe this,” said Williams, 30, after a victory marked by 17 aces and five breaks of serve from 15 chances against Radwanska.

“I almost didn’t make it; a few years ago I was in a hospital,” said the player who cut her foot in Germany a week after her last Wimbledon success and eventually had to be hospitalized the following February with blood clots in her lungs.

She ended up missing nearly a year of competition before making a return prior to last year’s Wimbledon.

“But this is worth it, I’m so happy. I never dreamed of being here again after being so down,” said Williams, now 3-0 over the heartbroken Radwanska.

The Pole was close to tears after forcing Williams to fight through for her win, rallying from a set and 4-2 down and breaking the American in the final game of the second to take the contest into a third.

Williams rose to the challenge as she served four aces in the fourth game for 2-all, then broke her opponent after Radwanska, known for some of the best hands on court, saved three break points before finally losing serve on a Williams drop shot as the American moved out to 5-2 on her second break of the set.

Williams served it out with a backhand winner a game later, then raced into the stands to greet her admiring family.

“The third set was really tough, she played so well,” said Williams. “She’s had a great career at such a young age, she did an amazing job today.

Radwanska came to the court suffering with a throat infection that she picked up during the weather-plagued, chilly fortnight.

“These have been the best two weeks of my life,” said the 23-year-old. “She was serving too well today, but I’m very happy to have been in the final.

“I’ve had a great moment here,” said the 2005 junior champion. “It was just not my day today. Playing in the rain and the cold didn’t help me much.

“But I’ll be back to try again next year. I had some great matches and still played well today.”

Williams has won 14 Grand Slam titles from 18 finals played.