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WORLD SPORT

Mauresmo's Wimbledon title triumph

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Champion on the run. Mauresmo hit back from a set down to race to victory on Centre Court.

LONDON, England -- Amelie Mauresmo came from a set down to take the Wimbledon title for the first time after an absorbing final with Belgium's Justine Henin-Hardenne on Saturday.

Henin-Hardenne looked set to win her first Wimbledon crown after racing through the first set, but world number one Mauresmo hit back to level with superlative play.

A single break early in the deciding set ultimately proved sufficient for France's Mauresmo as she clinched a 2-6 6-3 6-4 victory.

Henin-Hardenne, who was bidding to add the Wimbledon crown to her French Open triumph last month, could not summon the reserves to pressure Mauresmo and weakly succumbed on the first match point with a tame forehand.

"I don't want anyone to talk about my nerves anymore," said 27-year-old Mauresmo who has firmly buried her reputation for choking on the big occasion with two grand slam victories this season.

The first came in the Australian Open at the start of the season after the same opponent Henin-Hardenne retired through illness after trailing by a set.

Saturday's victory over the full distance provided far more satisfaction for Mauresmo, who is the first Frenchwoman to take the Wimbledon title since Suzanne Lenglen in 1925.

Defeat meant that Henin-Hardenne failed, for now, to become only the 10th woman in history to win all four grand slam titles.

"She played better than me, she was just too good today," said the Belgian. "I'm pretty tired but it's been a couple of good weeks for me."

Early break

Mauremso had to recover after making the worst possible start, electing to serve and being broken straight away by a fired up Henin-Hardenne.

The Frenchwoman squandered a chance to break back in the sixth game and Henin-Hardenne then made her pay with two stunning backhands which gave her a second break of the opening set and a 5-2 lead which she sealed with a thunderous ace to seal the set in 31 minutes.

However, the Belgian went dramatically off the boil at the start of the second set and dropped serve in the second game to slip 0-2 down which soon became 0-3 as the Frenchwoman started to find her range with her serve-and-volley game.

Mauresmo wasted two more chances to break again in the fourth and sixth games and Henin-Hardenne took full advantage with a break back to trail 3-4.

Mauresmo, so often let down by a brittle temperament, hit back straightaway to lead 5-3 and held her nerve against three further break points to take the second set 6-3 with a fourth ace to level the final after 80 minutes of action.

She quickly took charge in the decider, breaking for 2-1 and serving out to love to confirm the advantage.

She saved a break point in the fourth game before a sweet volley extended her lead to 4-2 and was never seriously threatened thereafter, sinking to her knees in triumph at the end.

Doubles triumph

Later American pair Bob and Mike Bryan won the Wimbledon doubles title to complete a career grand slam.

The American twins beat Fabrice Santoro of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-2 on Centre Court.

It was their seventh consecutive appearance in a grand slam doubles final.

The Bryans won this year's Australian Open and last year's U.S. Open. They also won the 2003 French Open, and have two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles each.

The brothers have appeared in every grand slam doubles final since the 2005 Australian Open.

Only two pairings have won the career grand slam in doubles in the Open Era since 1968 -- Jacco Eltingh and Paul Harhuis of the Netherlands, and Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge of Australia.

Bob Bryan also made the mixed doubles final in partnership with Venus Williams, but the U.S. pairing lost 6-3 6-2 to Andy Ram of Israel and Russia Vera Zvonareva.

It was Ram's first grand slam title. Zvonareva won the U.S. Open mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan in 2004.

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