Welcome to Wimbledon Rewind, where wtatennis.com takes a look back at some of the most memorable matches from the past two decades at The Championships. From breakthroughs to comebacks, rewind the clock and check out our list of the best Wimbledon finals laid out in chronological order.
Wimbledon Round Reviews
Gauff ascends, Serena survives through first round thrillers
Venus, Navratilova, Date turn back the clock in second round classics
Serena survives Watson, Kvitova conquers Venus in first-week finishes
Kerber, Lisicki, Cibulkova bring fourth-round fire with epic battles
Graf holds off Venus, Serena’s surges and more Wimbledon quarterfinals
Venus rises, Bartoli stuns, and more stirring Wimbledon semifinals
2001:  Venus Williams def.  Justine Henin, 6-1, 3-6, 6-0
Defending champion Venus Williams was all business during the 2001 Wimbledon tournament. After a breakthrough 2000 season saw her rise to the top and lift two Grand Slam titles, Venus returned to the All England Club with renewed determination - and a booming serve.
The American didn’t drop a set until the semifinals, where she had to fight off No.3 seed and former champion Lindsay Davenport in a thriller, 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-1. Up next was Belgian teenager Justine Henin, competing in her first Grand Slam final. Henin would still have two years to go before she got her first taste of Grand Slam glory, but by 2001 she had already established herself as a threat.
Read more: WTA announces revised WTA Rankings system
Venus took the first set with two breaks of serve, 6-1, but Henin stayed in it to push the defending champion in the second. Rain had been an issue all weekend, delaying the women’s final to Sunday, and it halted play again just as the Belgian hit her stride. Henin settled her nerves and closed it out once the players were back on court, 6-3. But Venus found another level in the third set, and was untouchable as she closed it out to love to claim her third Grand Slam title.
2003:  Serena Williams def.  Venus Williams, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
For the second year in a row, the Wimbledon final was an all-Williams affair. It was quickly becoming a trend on tour, and by the 2003 tournament five of the last six Grand Slam finals had pitted Venus against Serena. Serena had leapfrogged her big sister and now topped the WTA rankings, and had achieved a milestone feat by completing the “Serena Slam” earlier that year, holding all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously.
Serena showed why she was the world’s top player as she breezed through the draw, dropping just one set en route to the final, taking down Elena Dementieva, Jennifer Capriati and Justine Henin along the way.
In the final awaited older sister Venus, who kept Serena under pressure and broke to claim the opening set. The sisters’ famed power tennis was on display as Serena fought back to split sets and send the match into a decider. But in an unfortunate turn, Venus seemed to be struggling with an injury she had picked up earlier in the tournament, which hampered her as the match wore on. Serena surged ahead, claiming the third set 6-2 to close out the win - claiming her sixth Grand Slam title.
2005:  Venus Williams def.  Lindsay Davenport, 4-6, 7-6(4), 9-7
In 2005, the critics were already writing off 25-year-old Venus Williams. Injuries and early losses had started to take their toll, and heading into Wimbledon the American was flying under the radar, seeded No.14.
But once Venus got going, it was clear to see that the former champion was back. Venus didn’t drop a set en route to the final, and she faced some stiff competition: she lost only two games in her fourth round rout of Jill Craybas - who had defeated No.4 Serena Williams earlier in the tournament - and dropped a love set on Mary Pierce in the quarterfinals. Venus stunned the defending champion, Maria Sharapova, in the final four to book her spot in the final.
Former champion Lindsay Davenport, the World No.1, came out of the gates firing as the two big hitters set the tone for what would be one of the most epic Wimbledon finals in recent memory. Davenport matched Venus’ power shot for shot, and surged ahead 5-2 before taking the opening set. Venus committed some costly double faults late in the second set, handing Davenport a break and a chance to serve for the championship at 6-5. But Venus showed her grit to stay in the contest, and finally edged through in a tiebreak.
Davenport looked the more dominant player for much of the deciding set, but Venus refused to stay down - even when facing match point as her opponent again served for the match at 5-4. Venus willed herself back in it, and eventually prevailed in the extended third set, 4-6, 7-6(4), 9-7. Clocking in at two hours and 45 minutes, it was the longest women’s match in Wimbledon history - over an hour longer than the men’s final.
2006:  Amélie Mauresmo def.  Justine Henin, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
Coming into the 2006 Wimbledon final, World No.1 Amélie Mauresmo had something to prove to the tennis world. The Frenchwoman first rose to the top of the rankings in 2004 after a year of consistent results that fell just short of Grand Slam success. It would be two years before Mauresmo lifted her first Grand Slam trophy, but when it finally happened it was not at all how she expected it to come: as the result of an rare retirement in the 2006 Australian Open final, as Justine Henin who was trailing 6-1, 2-0 at the time, was overcome by illness.
She got the chance to set the record straight at Wimbledon, where she cruised through the first four rounds without dropping a set. After edging past a pair of battling Russians, Anastasia Myskina and Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively, Mauresmo booked her spot in the final against Henin - a rematch of their aborted Melbourne battle.
This time, both players were at their full power, and in the battle of the one-handed backhands it was the reigning French Open champion Henin who was quick off the blocks to comfortably take the opening set, 6-2. But Mauresmo shook off the nerves to battle back in the second, pushing them into a decider, 6-3. This time, Mauresmo took the lead early on and never looked back, keeping just in front to close out the match - finally enjoying the feeling of winning a Grand Slam championship point.
2008:  Venus Williams def.  Serena Williams, 7-5, 6-4
Family ties always take a backseat when Venus and Serena Williams meet in a Grand Slam final, and at Wimbledon 2008, it was the first all-Williams final in five years. Venus was the defending champion, and was looking for revenge after losing two previous finals to younger sister Serena at the All England Club.
Venus had to come back from an early break deficit in the first set as Serena made a strong start, but she turned around the set with her powerful hitting and court coverage. The older sister’s serve was firing and the pair stayed toe-to-toe before Venus closed out the set 7-5. The second set was just as tightly contested, with Venus eventually breaking Serena to claim the championship match in straight sets after a nearly two-hour battle.
The victory meant that Venus lifted her fifth Wimbledon trophy, and did so without dropping a set - her seventh and most recent Grand Slam singles trophy. She would go on to add another trophy to her ever-growing cabinet before the fortnight was over: Venus and Serena were right back on the tennis court for the women’s doubles final, which they won in straight sets.
2012:  Serena Williams def.  Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2
Serena had spent almost a year on the sidelines between 2010 and 2011 after suffering a string of serious injuries - including a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Coming into the 2012 Championships, Serena was looking to put the French Open behind her, having lost in the opening round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.
That loss was ancient history as Serena wracked up a 33-1 win-loss record for the rest of 2012, starting with Wimbledon. Back at one of her happiest hunting grounds, Serena was made to work as she battled through the early rounds, and in the quarterfinals she took down defending champion Petra Kvitova before knocking out No.2 seed Victoria Azarenka in two close sets.
Standing between Serena and her 14th Grand Slam title was Agnieszka Radwanska, the No.3 seed who had already made history for Poland by becoming their first ever Grand Slam finalist. Radwanska never gave Serena free points, and the match became a fascinating battle of power and pace against precision and touch. Ultimately Radwanska wasn’t able to keep up with Serena, or her head-spinning 24 aces, as the American sealed the emotional victory in three sets.
2014:  Petra Kvitova def.  Eugenie Bouchard, 6-3, 6-0
Despite being the lower seed, surprise finalist No.13 Eugenie Bouchard was the oddsmakers favorite to win the 2014 Wimbledon final against No.6 Petra Kvitova, the former champion. With the way the Canadian had reached the championship match, there would have been few who would bet against her: the 20-year-old was playing the best tennis of her career, and had yet to drop a set in the tournament after defeating the likes of Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep.
But standing across the net in the final was an inspired Kvitova, who had already lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish in 2011 and had become a fixture at the top of the sport. Kvitova herself was in fine form, dropping her only set of the fortnight to Venus Williams in a third-round thriller.
Kvitova carried all of that momentum into the final against Bouchard, and put on a grass court masterclass en route to a decisive victory. The Czech broke serve six times and hit 28 winners, outgunning Bouchard to claim her second Wimbledon crown, 6-3, 6-0. The victory sent Kvitova back to the WTA’s Top 5 rankings for the first time since 2012, landing at World No.4.
2016:  Serena Williams def.  Angelique Kerber, 7-5, 6-3
21-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams came into 2016 Wimbledon chasing history: one more major win would equal Stefanie Graf’s Open Era record. The feat had proved elusive, with Serena coming short in three consecutive Slams between the 2015 US Open and 2016 French Open.
But 34-year-old Serena would not be denied a fourth time, and she sent a message to the rest of the field as she tore through the competition. She dropped just one set en route to the final, and delivered three love sets to three different opponents, including Elena Vesnina in the semifinals.
In the final awaited Germany’s Angelique Kerber, a rematch of the pair’s cracking Australian Open final earlier in the year. This one proved just as thrilling, as Serena’s clinical display of power tennis clashed with Kerber’s relentless defense. Serena fired 39 winners and 13 aces, and only faced one break point en route to a 7-5, 6-3 victory.