Wimbledon: Ram wins first Grand Slam

The Israeli and Russia's Vera Zvonareva beat US team in mixed doubles final.

Ram and Zvonareva 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Ram and Zvonareva 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Andy Ram and Vera Zvonareva etched their names into the Wimbledon history book on Saturday with a straight-set win over Americans Bob Bryan and Venus Williams in the mixed doubles final. Playing together for just the second time, Ram and Zvonareva bested the seasoned Americans 6-3, 6-2 in 55 minutes. The victory makes Ram the first Israeli to win a Grand Slam title at the professional level. Twice before, Israelis have won in juniors - Anna Smashnova at the 1991 French Open and Shahar Pe'er 13 years later at the Australian Open. It was Zvonareva's second career mixed doubles title. Ironically, the first one came together with Bryan at the 2004 US Open. Ram was making his second career appearance in the mixed doubles final at Wimbledon. Three years ago, he and partner Anastasia Rodionova lost to Martina Navratilova and Leander Paes. The win completed a fantastic run for Ram and Zvonareva at the All England Club. The Israel-Russian duo didn't drop a set after their opening match. On Thursday, they ended Navratilova's magical Wimbledon career by beating the American legend and her partner, Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, in the third round of the mixed doubles. Earlier Saturday, they blew by the No. 3 seeds, siblings Wayne and Cara Black of Zimbabwe, 6-3, 7-6(5), to secure a spot in the final. The starting time for the final was pushed back until Bryan had enough rest after he took the men's doubles title together with twin brother Mike. The Bryans, the top doubles team in the world, defeated Fabrice Santoro of France and Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic, the No. 6 seeds, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, to complete a career Grand Slam. The mixed doubles final was relatively one-sided. Ram and Zvonareva broke Williams's serve in the fourth game of the opening set and then held the rest of the way to take the lead. They started the second set by breaking Bryan and then improved to 4-1 by breaking him once more. In the sixth game, the Americans went up 0-40, but Ram fought back with his service game and the Israeli-Russian duo regained the momentum, winning the game. Two games later, Zvonareva would clinch the title with an ace on championship point. Ram and Zvonareva split 90,000 in winnings and improved their record together to 8-1. Their only previous tournament together was last month's French Open, where they advanced to the semifinals. They were awarded their championship trophies by 1969 ladies and mixed doubles winner Ann Jones. Williams's loss came a week after she was beaten in the third round of the women's singles. She was the defending champion. Bob Bryan and Williams nearly didn't become partners. Mike Bryan said Williams sent a text message to his brother before Wimbledon, and that Bob Bryan was originally planning to play with Martina Navratilova "but they weren't communicating too well." "Martina thought she was playing with Bob," Mike Bryan said. "Bob thought she [Navratilova] was playing with Leander [Paes]. It kind of all got messed up... I don't think Martina was too happy for a few days."