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Beyond the Baseline

Memory Lane: Venus Williams wins first career title ... and raises the roof

Venus Williams Venus Williams won the first of her 44 singles titles as a 17-year-old in 1998. (Jerry Laizure/AP)

Memory Lane is a recurring feature in which we dig through photo and video archives for classic moments.

Fifteen years ago Friday, a 17-year-old Venus Williams won the 1998 IGA Tennis Classic in Oklahoma City for her first WTA title. Wearing a white Reebok dress and beads in her hair, Venus broke through in her third career final by defeating South Africa's Joannette Kruger 6-3, 6-2.

Ranked No. 14 at the time, Venus earned her spot in the final with a 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-3 victory against top seed and world No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals.

How did Venus celebrate her maiden win (and $27,000 windfall)? By raising the roof:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j7141I19hk

That day in 1998 also sparked another Williams trend, as Venus came out 30 minutes later to team up with Serena to win their first doubles title.

"This is one I will probably always remember," Venus said at the time. "I can say it all started back in Oklahoma City."

It's not over, either, as Venus is still going at 32. The seven-time Grand Slam winner this week is back in the top 20 for the first time in almost two years, and she's into the semifinals at the Brazil Tennis Cup as she pursues her 45th title.

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