Serena Wins First Title of Year in Bangalore
Published March 09, 2008 12:00
BANGALORE, India - There's no doubt that all-Williams clashes leave the victor with battle scars, but Serena in particular has been known to emerge from them even stronger than before. And on Sunday she proved that resilience once again, beating Patty Schnyder in straight sets for the Canara Bank Bangalore Open '08 title, her 29th career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title and first of the year.
In the semifinals on Saturday, Serena won a nail-biter against Venus, saving a match point trailing 6-5 in the third set and eventually claiming victory in a third set tie-break, 63 36 76(4). In the final on Sunday, the No.3 seed fought off some tough resistance from No.4 seed Schnyder in the opening set, regrouping after allowing a 4-2 lead and two set points at 5-4 slip away, closing the set out, 7-5. She then rallied back from 3-1 down in the second to win the match, 75 63.
"It definitely feels good to be the champion here at the Canara Bank Bangalore Open," Williams said. "I'm feeling really good about it. Not only were there a lot of great fans showing so much support here but it always feels good to win. To win for the fans is really cool. I just wanted to keep my unforced errors down today; Patty played well, she forced me to bring my level up."
"She was a great opponent today and made it tough for me to play my game," Schnyder said. "I think the first set could have gone either way, and I had my chances. I was really happy with the way I played today, especially my forehand, but she was serving and rallying really well too. I lost to a great champion."
Williams improved to 8-7 lifetime against her sister on Saturday, and in eight follow-up matches she is now 7-1. She lost her first follow-up encounter; upon beating her sister in the final of the Grand Slam Cup in 1999 she fell to Sandrine Testud in the first round of her next tournament in Filderstadt - but she nearly won, taking the first set and leading 3-0 in the second set and 5-1 in the third before losing, 36 64 75. But since that loss to Testud she is 7-0 in follow-up matches - all of those coming in straight sets.
"This was a really big win for me and there are a lot of important tournaments coming up," Williams added. "I missed some tournaments before this and I think my ranking suffered because of it; to win here was very important, and to even be here was really big for me. I'm just hoping to continue to play well."
Schnyder was playing in her first final of the season and falls to 10-13 lifetime in Tour singles finals. She is also 3-7 against Williams now.
"The crowd was great; even though I lost, I really enjoyed playing in front of so many people," Schnyder continued. "I can't be disappointed. We had a lot of great players here and I made it to the final and played a close match against Serena. I've played especially well the last few days so I'm proud of my week."
It was a great day for China in doubles, as Peng Shuai and Sun Tiantian earned the trophy with a 64 57 108 match tie-break victory over Chinese Taipei's Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung. Peng and Sun, the No.3 seeds in Bangalore, were on the same half of the draw as their compatriots and one of this season's top teams, Yan Zi and Zheng Jie, but that No.2-seeded duo fell first round; it was the No.1-seeded team of Chan and Chuang they had to take on and they hung very tough when given that opportunity, capturing their first title as a team.