London : Venus Williams became only the fourth woman in the Open era to lift four Wimbledon titles, completing her personal quartet 6-4, 6-1 on Saturday over surprise French finalist Marion Bartoli.
The unseeded American was able to stop the hard-charging outsider who stunned top seed Justine Henin in the semi-finals. But less than 24 hours after the biggest win of her career, the underdog was unable to repeat her upset.
The victory marked the sixth Grand Slam title for the 27-year-old Williams, who also won here in 2000, 2001 and 2005.
She joins Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Steffi Graf on four trophies.
King and Navratilova were in the stands on Centre Court for the 90-minute win which was punctuated by a double injury break for each player which lasted for a total of nine minutes after the third game of the second set.
Williams had one ace and a dozen unforced errors, breaking Bartoli four times.
"Winning four times is so exciting, in theory I've always believed I could do it. But to actually do it is something else," said Williams, ranked 31st after a year of wrist injury trouble which limited her time in the game.
"I was almost home in the first round," said the winner, who struggled during the first week of the tournament. "My family knows what I went through when I was off the Tour, it's been a long road back.
"But I had a wonderful run, beat a lot of tough opponents, including Marion."
Bartoli, an outsider in the French federation ranks and completely schooled in the game by her father Walter, a medical doctor, thanked her devoted parent in her post-match speech.
That was the cue for extravagant Richard Williams to give a startled Frenchman an emotional hug in the players' box where both were sitting.
"I beat the number one (Henin) and number three (Jelena Jankovic)," said Bartoli, ranked 19th, who will rise to 11th Monday.
"I would have never believed this a few weeks ago. Playing this final is like a dream for me.
"But there is one person and one person only who is responsible for this: My father," said the 22-year-old who had never advanced past the fourth round of a Grand Slam before.
Williams' victory marked her 51st at the event and leaves her 28-6 this season.