But the interruption let her "cool down a little bit," explained Radwanska, who would have risen to No. 1 in the rankings by beating Williams but instead will be No. 2, behind Victoria Azarenka. "When I was going on the court the second time, I just felt like a normal match. Didn't seem like a final anymore, so there was not that much pressure."
Radwanska played her usual steady game, and Williams began making more and more errors. A string of mistakes — swinging volley into the net, double-fault, backhand long, backhand into the net — let Radwanska break to even the match at one set apiece. What appeared to be a rather drab final, bereft of any drama, suddenly became interesting.
"She got a little nervous out there, in my opinion. In the second set, I think she might have thought, 'Well, I got this here,'" said Williams' father, Richard.
He also suspected his daughter might have been feeling a twinge of self-doubt connected to her quick exit in late May at the French Open against a woman ranked 111th, Williams' only first-round loss in 48 career major tournaments.
Williams' explanation for her dip against Radwanska?
"I just got too anxious," she said, "and I shouldn't have been so anxious."
Making her Paris performance really seem like an aberration, Williams regained control down the stretch. She won a 16-stroke point with a forehand putaway to get to break point, then went up 3-2 by smacking a big return that left Radwanska flailing at a running backhand.
If Williams is mainly known for her powerful serves and groundstrokes — she produced 23 baseline winners to her opponent's five — she also showed off a deft touch, the sort of thing Radwanska specializes in. Ahead 4-2, Williams earned a second break with a well-disguised forehand drop shot, then raised both arms aloft.
"After that, it was: 'I can definitely do this,'" Williams said.
While Monday's rankings will have her listed at No. 4, there's no doubt who is at the top of the game right now. Seeded sixth at the All England Club, she beat the women who were No. 2 (Azarenka), No. 3 (Radwanska) and No. 4 (defending champion Petra Kvitova).
At age 30, Williams is the oldest women's singles champion at any major tournament since Martina Navratilova was 33 when she won Wimbledon in 1990.
And Williams sees no end in sight.
Asked Saturday evening what more she could possibly want, she replied: "Are you kidding? The U.S. Open. The Australian Open. The French Open. Wimbledon, 2013."
Seconds later, she declared: "I have never felt better."
Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
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