Maria Sharapova stunned the
world of tennis this afternoon when she became the first Russian woman to win the Wimbledon singles title at the tender age of 17. The nerveless girl
from Siberia defeated defending champion Serena Williams 6-1 6-4 in one of the most remarkable tennis stories ever told.
At the end she collapsed to the turf on her knees, held her hands to her face and then skipped to the net to embrace her opponent. She then jogged
into the crowd to hug dad Yuri and then attempted to phone her mother Yelena at home in Florida on her mobile phone. She could not get through but
then she held aloft the Venus Rosewater Bowl and collapsed into a fit of schoolgirl giggles.
Williams was expected to make it a hat-trick of titles, but a stunned Centre Court crowd watched as she was overpowered 6-1 6-4 by a 17-year-old.
Sharapova, in her first Grand Slam final, took the first set in 30 minutes. Williams was a break up in a compelling second set, but Sharapova found
another level to take her first Grand Slam. Sharapova, the first Russian woman to win the Wimbledon title, sank to her knees as her victory was
confirmed and then climbed to the players' box to hug her father.
she told BBC Sport after collecting the trophy.
"My father and I have been through this together and it's just amazing."
"I know how tough it is to watch and playing is a lot easier so I owe him so much."
Making her debut in a Grand Slam final, Sharapova showed no sign of nerves.
Indeed it was Williams, the six-times Grand Slam winner, who was struggling to find her rhythm and the top seed fired a backhand long to give the
Russian an early 3-1 lead. It quickly became 5-1 when Sharapova whipped a backhand winner cross-court to break for the second time. Serving out the
set did not prove so easy, but after seeing three set points go by, the Russian took control of the final after just 30 minutes.
But Williams was not ready to surrender her crown without a fight, and she engineered her first service break of the match to lead 4-2 in the second
set. Sharapova, though, has impressed observers with her ability to ignore setbacks, and she proved it again in the final. The teenager broke straight
back and then even had her opponent applauding when she produced a stunning lob in the next game.
That shot appeared to inspire her and she stepped up a level again. The ninth game proved crucial, and the crowd could hardly believe their eyes.
Williams was sent rushing all over the court as she battled to avoid the break, but the Russian remained ice cool. On her fourth opportunity, she
finally earnt the chance to serve for the match, and Williams' fightback was over.