MADRID, Spain - Madison Brengle came in on the best form of her career, fresh off her first Premier-level semifinal on the clay of Stuttgart, but Serena Williams is just too unstoppable at the moment - she cruised past her fellow American in 55 minutes, 6-0, 6-1, at the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday.
After Williams needed just 21 minutes to capture the first set, Brengle showed her fighting spirit at the start of the second set - she fought off five break points in a seven-deuce game to get on the board and take a 1-0 lead. But the No.1-seeded Williams ran off the next six games to wrap things up.
Williams' match numbers were great, too - she had a 2:1 ratio of winners to errors (36 to 18) and hit five aces, including three in a row to dig out of triple break point while serving out the first set.
"I was able to win good today, but she's been playing really well," Williams said. "I've been following her results. She got to the semifinals of her last clay court event and she's been having some good wins.
"When I play a person I know has done well or is doing well, I have to be really focused every point."
She was asked about her last match, Sara Errani in Fed Cup, where she was two points from losing.
"That was a big wake-up call," Williams said. "I definitely feel I know what to do more in terms of clay, and being ready mentally for clay, being ready for longer points, longer matches. My preparation was not as great as I wanted it to be, so I'm just trying to play through it, and just do the best I can."
She's now 21-0 on the season, and coupled with winning her last three matches of last season, she's on a 24-match overall winning streak. She's also on a 47-match winning streak at Premier Mandatory-level events, a winning streak that goes back more than three years (read more about that streak here).
Stephens pulled off a famous upset over Williams in the 2013 Australian Open quarterfinals, rallying from 6-3, 2-0 down to win, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Williams leads Stephens in their head-to-head 3-1, though.
"I don't think I've played her on clay yet," Williams commented. "We had a really tough three set match the last time we played. She's playing really well. She's moving well and is having a better year this year. I think she's kind of flying under the radar this year - she's really proven herself before."