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One more title

Williams sisters take women's doubles

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  Serena and Venus Williams It took Venus (right) and Serena Williams 70 minutes to win their third Grand Slam doubles title. AP

WIMBLEDON, England (CNN/SI) - The Williams sisters' dominance at the 2000 Wimbledon Championships continued on Monday, as Venus Williams followed her victory in Saturday's women's singles final by teaming with sister Serena to win the women's doubles title.

The Williams sisters beat Ai Sugiyama and Julie Halard-Decugis 6-3, 6-2.

It's the first time in history that sisters have won the Wimbledon doubles title.

"It's great because it's the millennium Wimbledon," Venus said. "There won't be another millennium Wimbledon for another millennium."

The 70-minute victory gave the Williams siblings their third Grand Slam doubles title. They also won the 1999 U.S. Open and French Open.

The sisters have also won two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles apiece. Counting Serena's singles victory at the 1999 U.S. Open, the pair now hold a total of nine Grand Slam championships.

"We're both going to try to get as much as we can," Venus said.

"We're both really greedy," Serena said.

The doubles final was postponed to Monday because of rain which extended the men's final -- won by Pete Sampras over Patrick Rafter -- to dusk Sunday.

It's the first time Wimbledon was extended to the third Monday since 1996. That year, the women's doubles final was played on the extra day, with Martina Hingis becoming the youngest Wimbledon champion of all time, at 15 years and 282 days.

Venus Williams, 20, and Serena, 18, have no doubles ranking because they were injured and played so little together this year. They needed a wild card to enter Wimbledon.

Their biggest problem Monday was waking up on time.

The sisters had attended the champions dinner Sunday, both wearing sleeveless gowns, and didn't back to their rented house until after midnight. Their father, Richard Williams, had flown home to Florida earlier Sunday.

"I said, `Serena, you have to go to bed as soon as possible,'" Venus said.

"She took over as a parent," Serena said.

Their mother, Oracene, who did not come to Wimbledon, called Monday morning.

"I was somewhat in a coma," Venus said. "It was 8:30. We went to bed at 2. I couldn't think. I told her I'd call her back."

Williams sisters headline an extra day at Wimbledon
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Venus and Serena Williams take on Ai Sugiyama and Julie Halard-Decugis in the ladies' doubles final. Launch
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Seeded No. 8, the sisters overwhelmed their fourth-seeded opponents with unreturnable serves and powerful volleys. They slapped hands after each point, win or lose, and whispered tactics to each other between points.

From 3-2 down in the first set, the Williams team won eight straight games and 10 out of the last 12. The match ended with Serena drilling an ace.

After the sisters hugged each other, the accepted the winner's trophy and held it aloft as they paraded around Centre Court to a standing ovation from the near capacity crowd.

There was a carnival atmosphere in the stadium. Fans did the wave at the end of the first set, with guests in the Royal Box joining in.

At several stages, spectators shouted, "C'mon sisters!"

Centre Court tickets for Sunday were valid for Monday's play, while tickets were available to the general public for the discount price of 5 pounds ($7.50), with proceeds going to a children's charity.

There were long queues outside the All England Club, with an estimated 3,000 people lined up for tickets in the early morning for the so-called "People's Monday" match.

"It was such a bargain that we couldn't resist," said Jean Neafcy, who traveled with her husband, Eddie, from Mayfield, 30 miles (50 kms) south of London. "It is nice to be part of the occasion, too.

"The Williams girls are such big stars it will be a treat to see them. They have brought in a new era in women's tennis, something really sensational."

Serena said: "People here really support the sport from the first day. The stadium is packed to the last day. This is not like America, where they come only for the finals or semifinals. It's really different here."

With her 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Lindsay Davenport in Saturday's final, Venus became the first black women's champion at Wimbledon since Althea Gibson in 1957-58.

Venus was playing in only her fourth tournament this year after being sidelined for six months with tendinitis in both wrists. Serena had a two-month layoff with tendinitis in her knee.

"It's really amazing for us to come back like this," said Serena, who lost to Venus in the semifinals. "People are going to practice harder to beat us. But you know what? We are too. We mean business.

"We can do a lot better. We're not playing our best tennis right now. There's a lot of room for improvement."

The sisters are determined to compete for the No. 1 ranking.

Venus will move up to No. 3 this week behind Martina Hingis and Davenport, tying her career best. Serena will rise to No. 7.

"We're on our way," Venus said. "We believe in ourselves. I don't think I'll be able to attain No. 1 this year. It's going to be tough. But next year, I definitely have the opportunity starting at the Australian Open."


 
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Venus Williams wins Wimbledon title
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Serena Williams says the sisters' recent success at Wimbledon is just the beginning. (113 K)
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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