LONDON -- The score was 3-3 in the second set of the Wimbledon final when Serena Williams ended yet another fierce rally with a backhand that sailed wide of the line. Angelique Kerber had her first break point of the match.It seemed a monumental achievement. The roar of Wimbledons Centre Court crowd sounded like a rogue wave crashing on a rocky beach.Williams turned to the ball kid, devoid of expression. Kerber made a fist, shook it like a person about to shoot dice and dropped to her receiving crouch in the ad-court. She clutched her racket handle with both hands, thrust her jaw forward and swayed gently, ready to pounce.Eyes downcast, Williams stepped to the line. She tossed the ball and exploded up, the racket a dark blur against the grassy lime-green background. There was nothing for Kerber to pounce on.A 117-mph ace flew by on Kerbers backhand side. As she crossed to the deuce court, Kerber tilted her head back and gazed deep into the sky, dispirited.At deuce, Williams dialed it up and cracked her fastest serve of the match, 124 mph. She saved the game, broke Kerber and closed out the match. She finally won that elusive 22nd Grand Slam singles title that equaled Steffi Grafs Open era record.This is how Serena is playing, Kerber marveled, after taking the 7-5, 6-3 loss in 1 hour, 21 minutes. I had one break point, and I couldnt do nothing. Serena was serving unbelievable today.The score and elapsed time might not suggest it, but the match was close and played at a high level by both women, particularly Williams.A pitch-perfect performance was certainly something she has earned. That 22nd title is such a shiny thing, such a pretty and unique thing. But it has cost Williams dearly, going all the way back to her puzzling loss to Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the US Open. At that event, Williams was attempting to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam as well as secure title No. 22.Williams faltered and didnt find her secure champions footing again until she was back on Wimbledon turf. She was upset by Kerber in the Australian Open final, and a French Open title was stripped away by Garbine Muguruza.For a good part of the past year, Williams visibly struggled with her emotions. She seemed to forget how much better she has always been than anyone else. She squandered an important psychological advantage. At Wimbledon this fortnight, she finally remembered. She projected an aura of calm assurance and reclaimed superiority all week.I have definitely had some sleepless nights, if Im just honest, with a lot of stuff, Williams said. Coming so close. Feeling it, not being able to quite get there. ... Ive just felt a lot of pressure, I guess. I put a lot of that pressure on myself. Obviously had some really tough losses.The cumulative effect of all those brushes with destiny was the gradual erosion of her confidence. She retreated a bit into herself during her long struggle. Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, noticed. He told anyone who asked, or was willing to listen, that Williams just wasnt herself. He waited for her to snap out of it.Sometime after the French Open, we were talking, talking about things and strategizing, Williams said. [Patrick] just said, Youre back. I guess he was right.Williams recovered her composure by taking a helicopter view of her recent past. She realized that she was still getting to finals, including the first two this year. She has been in the final of seven of the past eight majors.Its pretty impressive, Williams said. I had to start looking at the positives, not focusing on that one loss per tournament. Once I [did that], I realized that Im pretty good. I started playing better.Better is an inadequate word to describe the way Williams played her second-week matches at Wimbledon. She was superb. Shes in a different place now, mentally and emotionally. She isnt likely to get sucked into those black holes of anxiety in the future, even if her mission to win at least one Grand Slam title per year continues.And there is that hunt for the all-time singles title of 24, held by Margaret Court. Is Williams concerned that people will start asking about that now?No, no, she said. Ive learned a lot about 22. I learned not to get involved in those debates and conversations. I just learned to just play tennis. Thats what I do best.Better than anyone else, perhaps ever. Frank Thomas Jersey . Denis Coderre, the former federal MP who was elected mayor on Nov. 3, has drawn the ire of some Montreal Canadiens. During last nights game he tweeted: "Hello? Can we get a one-way ticket to (minor-league) Hamilton for David Desharnais please. 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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Nobody really thought the United States would be shut out of Olympic gold medals on the track at these Summer Games, but the bullion still wasnt in the bank when the three 100-meter hurdlers crouched at the start Wednesday.Brianna Rollins projected the aura of a former world champion. Nia Ali proved she could return to world-class form after becoming a mother last year. Injury impeded Kristi Castlins path to the 2012 Olympics, but shed been through far worse, losing her father to murder at age 12 and living through the slaughter of 32 innocents as a Virginia Tech student.The trio represents the latest wave of U.S. excellence in the event, accelerating out of a talent pool so deep that a defending Olympic champion and a current world-record holder were left at home on the bench. Any one of them could have won it, but they approached ambition as a team. They understood they could be greater than the sum of their parts if they swept an Olympic podium for the first time in U.S. track history. They stayed off social media in the days before the race and prayed together instead.We said it was our time, lets go, lets do this and get it out of the way, Ali said.They broke the mini-drought and propped open the floodgates. Rollins won going away in 12.48 seconds. Ali knew shed finished second in the hubbub when she saw her time of 12.59. Then Castlins name popped up in third place on the scoreboard just two-hundredths of a second behind and the flags came out and the women who leap for a living jumped for joy and posterity and the cameras, this time in unison.I typically run in seventh place until about the last three hurdles, said Castlin, who pirouetted for the crowd as she came out of the tunnel. Im a closer. Im a finisher. My thing was not to win a bronze medal for myself, it was about upholding the team.Rollins rolled through interview after interview clutching an apple in one hand, too busy to take a bite. She said she clipped a few hurdles and felt relieved at the outcome.The U.S. women long jumpers doubled down on gold and silver as the versatile Tianna Bartoletta sent the sand flying with a personal-best mark of 7.17 meters -- enough to edge defending champion Brittney Reeses 7.08.Bartoletta, who has moonlighted as an elite bobsledder, was trying to stay earthbound after her clutch win, because she has to run a preliminary round of the 4x100-meter relay Thursday. My work is not yet finished, she said. Tori Bowie addedd a bronze in the 200-meter event.ddddddddddddThe mens 200 will be missing the amiable but polarizing figure of Justin Gatlin, who fell one spot and .03 short of advancing to Thursdays final and another duel with two-time defending champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica. Gatlin said he is still bothered by lingering soreness in his right ankle after rolling it last November, an issue that didnt prevent him from finishing second to Bolt here in the 100.Gatlin spoke to reporters at length, saying he hasnt been fazed by the booing that has greeted him in the Olympic Stadium -- a reception that may owe partly to his past but mostly to Bolts extraordinary persona.The rivalry I have with Usain has turned it into a professional wrestling feel, Gatlin said. Everyones cheering for Usain, but they have somebody theyve got to boo against. It would be an immature mindset for me to come out here and think that every Brazilian is against me. They want to see a great show, and Usain is a great competitor and a showman. He puts on a great show.Gatlins two previous doping suspensions have made him a human heat conductor at these Games where the debate over sanctions has boiled over into numerous athletes public comments. I dont really focus on likes and dislikes, he said. I try to give everyone around me respect. I try to get to know them. He predicted a strong final for teammate LaShawn Merritt, whose 19.94 seconds seeded him third behind Bolt and Canadas 21-year-old Andre De Grasse.Bolt continued his frisky romp through Rio, casting an amused eye to his right when De Grasse came up on his shoulder in their semifinal and forcing him to hustle a little more than hed planned. Bolt finished in 19.78 seconds and the mens playful double-takes and interaction lacked only the passing of a torch.I see the talent in him, Bolt said. I see that he got a national record, actually, so he means business.Bolt, somewhat superfluously, added that he is on the right track. ... I felt energetic and everything was going smooth.But the charisma award Wednesday night went to Alis adorable 15-month-old son with the formidable name -- Titus Maximus Tinsley -- who starred in her victory lap.Im happy we have photos, cause then hell know Im not making up stories about that one time I ran in the Olympics, Ali said. But what happened was better than fiction. Cheap Jerseys Store Cheap NFL T-shirts Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys White Cheap NFL Jerseys Camo Wholesale Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Outlet Cheap Jerseys Wholesale China Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Hoodies Camo China NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys Camo NFL Jerseys China ' ' '