World No. 1 Serena Williams racked up her 51st win of the year on Sunday when she cruised past home player Johanna Larsson in the Swedish Open final.
Williams showed little mercy as she swept to a 6-4, 6-1 victory to take the 53rd WTA title of her career.
Larsson, 24, ranked 76th in the world, had no answer to the Williams arsenal and her third WTA final went the way of the previous two, ending in defeat.
French Open winner Williams, 31, was contesting her 69th final and is unbeaten on clay this season, having also won in Rome, Madrid and Charleston.
Previously, the most WTA main-draw match wins Williams had at this stage of the year was 38, back in 2003.
“Johanna played well, and I made a lot of unforced errors in the beginning — I just hit everything out,” said Williams, whose career titles now match those achieved by Monica Seles.
“I had to kind of come back and do a little better. You just have to stay positive. I wasn’t playing well at Wimbledon when I lost, so I thought: ‘Okay, just remember what I did wrong there, and don’t make the same mistake here.’ I really wanted to do better here in Bastad this week,” she added.
AP, BAD GASTEIN, Austria
Yvonne Meusburger of Austria won her first WTA title by defeating Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-2 at the Gastein Ladies on Sunday.
It was Meusburger’s second final in as many weeks and third overall. She lost to Romania’s Simona Halep in Budapest last week and to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone in Bad Gastein six years ago.
“I’ve come here every season and I can’t believe I’ve won it now,” said Meusburger, who reached the quarter-finals every year since the event was first held in 2007.
The 86th-ranked Meusburger became the ninth Austrian winner of a WTA event and the first since Tamira Paszek in Birmingham, England, in June last year. Meusburger was expected to move up almost 30 places and improve on her career-best 60th when the rankings are updated on Monday.
Hlavackova had never been beyond the quarter-finals of a WTA event before and had not won back-to-back matches this year.
Ranked 108th, Hlavackova specializes in doubles. Teaming up with fellow Czech player Lucie Hradecka, she won the French Open in 2011 and finished runner-up at Wimbledon, the London Olympics and the US Open last year.
Hlavackova was the more attacking player, but struggled with her opponent’s high topspin balls from the baseline.
Meusburger conceded a 4-2 lead, but broke Hlavackova again for 6-5 and wrapped up the opening set with an ace.
The Austrian avoided break points in the second set and broke Hlavackova’s serve twice to go 5-2 up. Meusburger clinched the title with a volley winner on her second match point.
Earlier on Sunday, Austrian doubles player Sandra Klemenschits also won her first WTA title, five years after battling abdominal cancer, the same illness her twin sister and former doubles partner Daniela died of in April 2008.
Klemenschits and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia defeated Kristina Barrois of Germany and Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 6-1, 6-4.