Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport both looked to end their years-long streak without a Grand Slam singles title in a battle between two former Wimbledon champions.
There were more ups and downs in the first half of 2005 for Venus Williams, and by the time Wimbledon rolled around, she was seeded No. 14 at the tournament. That didn’t faze her as she caught fire on the grass at the All England Club, taking advantage of some of the upsets on her side of the draw—primarily that of her sister Serena Williams in the third round. In the semifinals, she routed the second seed and defending champion Maria Sharapova to reach the championship match.
On the top half of the draw, world No. 1 and 1999 champion Lindsay Davenport was living up to her billing. The American breezed through four of her matches, and was pushed to the distance by Kim Clijsters and Amelie Mauresmo in the fourth round and semifinals, respectively, to reach her first Wimbledon final since 2000.
In the first two games of the opening frame, both players hold serve easily. In the third game, though, it’s Davenport that strikes first as she breaks Williams, then consolidates to take a 3-1 lead. The world No. 1 gains another break later on in the set to take a 5-2 lead. Williams, though, rallies and gets a break back. On her second opportunity to serve for the set, Davenport delivers and clinches it 6-4.
The two players held until deep in the second set, with Williams earning a set point on Davenport’s serve. Davenport saved that, and broke Williams late to serve for the championship at 6-5. It was Williams’ turn to come up with the goods and she broke to force a tiebreak. Williams took an early lead in the breaker and held on to win it 7-4, pushing the match into a decider.
In the third set, Davenport grabbed a 4-2 lead, but started to feel pain in her back, and surrendered the break to get back on serve. After Davenport took a medical timeout, she started to pick her level of play back up and earned a championship point on Williams’ serve. Williams calmly cracked a backhand winner down the line, and the two were on even ground once again. With no tiebreak in the final set, Williams broke for an 8-7 lead.
Davenport tried to muster one more charge, but Williams held steady, clinching her third Wimbledon singles title, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 9-7, becoming only the second woman ever to win after being match point down in the final.
After winning her first three Grand Slam finals, this was the fourth time in a row Davenport lost the championship match at a major, with all of those defeats coming at the hands of a Williams sister.
Williams was 3-0 against Davenport in Grand Slam finals.
The last time Williams faced someone other than her sister in a Grand Slam final was in 2001, when she beat Justine Henin in the Wimbledon final. In the title matches Venus played against Serena, she went 1-5.