Serena Wins Stanford, Ties Venus' 43 Titles
Published July 15, 2012 12:00
STANFORD, CA, USA - Halfway across the world just days later, and still the same result: Serena Williams carried her momentum from Wimbledon all the way to Stanford this past week, not losing a set en route to her 43rd WTA title - though she came very close to losing a set in Sunday afternoon's final.
Williams, who was fresh off winning her 14th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and was the No.1 seed at the Premier-level Bank Of The West Classic, stormed through her first three matches dropping a total of just 10 games.
Against Coco Vandeweghe in the final things were tricky early on, as the young American converted on both of her break points and even served for the set, but Williams toughed out the set and eventually cruised to a 75 63 win.
"Serena's a great player and will take advantage of every opportunity she gets," said Vandeweghe, who had a set point serving 5-4 in the first set. "I served pretty well all week and against Serena too, but she won't let me get away with a second serve on set point. I fought hard to get back in the game after that, but in the end it didn't go my way. But I still tried to stay with her in the second set."
"I just really wanted to win that game," Williams said of the 5-4 game. "I was up in that game and had so many break points, but she played well on them and I was making some errors. And then she even had a set point. But I just hung in there and tried to do the best I could, and thankfully I won that first set.
"I think I played well enough to win today. I think I can do a lot better, but there are a lot of positives from today. I was fighting out there. I wanted it.
"I think Coco played really well today. She has a really strong, solid game."
It has been a stellar last few months for Williams. She has now won 28 of her last 29 matches, her only loss since the start of April coming in the first round of the French Open to Virginie Razzano. And with her 43rd WTA title she is now tied with Venus Williams for most WTA titles among active players, and with Venus Williams, Martina Hingis and Justine Henin for 10th all-time.
"I've never felt this fit, this strong, this happy to play - and I think I can be even better," Williams said. "I want to sustain this momentum and build on what I did at Wimbledon. I'm going to get back on the grass now for the Olympics - I'm not sure when I'm heading back to London, but I'll do it as soon as I can."
Vandeweghe had never been past the quarterfinals of a WTA event before this week, and was the first lucky loser to reach a WTA final in over seven years, since Melinda Czink did it at Canberra in January 2005. Only one lucky loser has ever won a WTA title, that being Andrea Jaeger at Las Vegas in 1980.
Vandeweghe was playing Williams - and also met her - for the first time.
"The thing that impressed me the most about Serena was just how great of a person she is, as far as all the nice things she said about me at the ceremony, and the things she said afterwards," Vandeweghe added. "To have someone you grew up watching say those things to you, it's just a really nice feeling.
"There's a lot of things going through my mind right now - happiness I was in the final and disappointment I lost today - but I'm just going to put all that on the backburner for now and start focusing on my next tournament in San Diego."
The unseeded duo of Marina Erakovic and Heather Watson won the doubles title later, defeating top seeds Jarmila Gajdosova and Vania King, 75 76(7). It was Erakovic's sixth WTA doubles title and Watson's first WTA title of any kind.
"This is my first WTA title so I'm really happy right now!" Watson said. "It's such a nice feeling getting to the end of the week and being the last ones here. We knew it wasn't going to be an easy match today - they're both great players and we knew we would really have to win it, they weren't going to give it to us.
"We ended up coming out on top and have the silverware to prove it - woohoo! But there won't be any celebration for me, because now I'm flying straight to Carlsbad. I'm training tomorrow and then playing my first match the next day!"