Top seed Serena Williams overcame a week fighting jet lag to defeat fellow American Coco Vandeweghe 7-5, 6-3 to retain the Stanford Classic title on Sunday.
Just eight days after winning her fifth Wimbledon singles title, Williams fought off a set point in the first set, before overcoming big-serving Vandeweghe, who had reached her first WTA Tour final.
The 30-year-old Williams used her experience and know-how to race past the 20-year-old, nailing 21 winners. Vandeweghe struck 20 winners, but she also committed 25 unforced errors.
Williams, who had been contending with jet lag much of the week after traveling from London to California, was satisfied with the title.
“I played well enough to win, but I can do a lot better and play stronger,” she said. “But there are a lot of positives, and I was fighting and I didn’t quit. I survived and didn’t play my greatest, but mentally I was there and that really helped me a lot.”
Vandeweghe served for the first set at 5-4, but could not convert her only set point when Williams ripped a cross-court backhand return off a second serve.
It took Williams six break points to break back to 5-5, but the Vandeweghe finally handed it to her when she double-faulted.
“I been serving well all week and I still feel like I served pretty well against Serena, but she’s a great player and she going to take advantage of opportunities, especially on second serves on set point,” Vandeweghe said.
Williams took a 3-1 lead in the second set when Vandeweghe again double-faulted and while she pushed Williams with her huge serve and heavy ground-strokes, she could not get a break point on the Williams serve in the set and Williams sealed the title with a forehand winner down the line.
Williams won her 43rd career title, tying her with her older sister, Venus, for the most titles among active players on the WTA Tour. The world No. 4 has now also won 28 of her past 29 matches.
She planned to take a couple of days off, play an exhibition match and then head to London to prepare for the Olympics, where she is defending her doubles title with Venus and attempting to win the singles gold medal.
“A gold medal will mean a lot to me, but I can’t lay all my hopes and dreams on that,” she said.
AP, PALERMO, Italy
Top seed Sara Errani cruised past Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Italiacom Open.
Errani dominated from the start and needed only 75 minutes to beat the eighth-seeded Czech player for her fourth title of the year.
“It wasn’t completely easy, as it might seem from the result,” Errani said. “Zahlavova Strycova is a very difficult player. If you don’t keep your game up, you risk being entrapped by her tennis. In fact, if you let your guard down, you won’t get out of it.”
“At several times during the second set I tensed up a bit. Then, towards the end of the match, as soon as I was back in front, I loosened up, and was able to win the match and the tournament,” she said.
Errani, runner-up at the French Open this year, dropped a total of 20 games in five matches en route to reclaiming the trophy she won in 2008.
Her other victories this year were in Budapest, Barcelona, Spain, and Acapulco, Mexico.
Errani, who is ranked No. 9 in the world, is the first Italian to win four tournaments in a season.
“It’s a magical time for me,” the 25-year-old said. “However, I don’t aim for records, I only think about playing and improving, without looking at the numbers.”
“Today, during the match, I didn’t think much about the fact that I would be winning a fourth tournament this season. I only did so, a bit, before the match. On court, I only thought about playing,” she said.
Errani plays in this week’s Swedish Open in Bastad, before focusing on the Olympics in London.
She is then aiming to qualify for the season-ending WTA Championships for the top eight players of the year.
“It’s a difficult aim, but I’ll do my utmost to achieve it,” she said.
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