2013 Season In Review: Part II
Published November 12, 2013 12:02
For someone who is perhaps best known for her exploits on grass and hard, recently Serena Williams has looked decidedly sure footed on clay.
This most unexpected of upsets extended her wait for that elusive second title in Paris, and it was evident from the opening stanza on the terre battue in 2013 that the American was hungrier than ever to lay her hands on the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen once more.
She sent out her first warning shot in Charleston, where she came from behind to defeat Jelena Jankovic in the final with an intimidating display of baseline aggression.
One month later, she further enhanced her Roland Garros credentials with back-to-back victories in Madrid and Rome, scoring confidence-boosting wins over her two main rivals, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, in the process.
But while Williams' quest was the dominant storyline, she was far from the only player making headlines in the spring months.
Sharapova once again impressed on the dirt, putting up a thrilling and ultimately successful defense of her Stuttgart title, in addition to her runner-up finish in Madrid.
Meanwhile, away from the spotlight of the Premier-level events, several of the WTA's next generation grasped the opportunity to add to their already impressive résumés; Alizé Cornet took home the spoils on home soil in Strasbourg, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova picked up the silverware on the clay of Oeiras and the hardcourts of Monterrey.
If WTA's fortnight in Paris last year was characterized by its unpredictability, this time around it went more to the form book, with three of the Top 4 seeds making it through to the semifinals.
Following contrasting semfinals against Sara Errani and Azarenka, the final pitted Williams against Sharapova. The fairytale ending, though, was reserved for Williams, who closed the latest chapter of her remarkable career with a 64 64 win.