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Serena Williams latest black to win major tennis title
Posted: Saturday September 11, 1999 09:12 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- When Serena Williams won the U.S. Open women's singles title Saturday, she became the first black woman to win a Grand Slam tournament championship since Althea Gibson won her second United States title in 1958.
But it wasn't the first major tournament title for the 17-year-old. It was her fourth.
She teamed with Max Mirnyi to capture the mixed doubles last year at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, then won the women's doubles with her sister Venus this year at the French Open.
Gibson, who broke the color barrier in tennis in the early 1950s, won five Grand Slam tournament titles: the French in 1956 and Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in both 1957 and 1958. She also captured six doubles titles, including the mixed in 1957 at the U.S. Open.
Arthur Ashe became the first black to win a men's singles title when he took the first U.S. Open in 1968. He later added the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975.
In 1983, Frenchman Yannick Noah won the French Open.
Besides the French Open women's doubles, Venus Williams also won the mixed doubles with Justin Gimelstob last year at both the Australian and French Opens.
Chanda Rubin was half of the winning women's doubles team at the Australian Open in 1996, Lori McNeil won the French Open mixed doubles in 1988 and Zina Garrison was part of the winning mixed doubles team at the Australian Open in 1987 and at Wimbledon in both 1988 and 1990.
Garrison reached the Wimbledon singles final in 1990, losing to Martina Navratilova, while MaliVai Washington lost the Wimbledon men's title in 1996 to Richard Krajicek.
Fittingly, Serena Williams won her U.S. Open crown in the stadium named for Ashe.
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