Serena extends career-best run, wins Rome title|
Rome, Italy (Sports Network) - Another impressive performance by the seemingly
indomitable Serena Williams.
The world No. 1 ran her career-best win streak to 24 matches in Sunday's final
at the Italian Open with a 6-1, 6-3 thumping of Victoria Azarenka, the last
player to beat the American superstar.
Azarenka snapped a nine-match slide in the series against Williams in the
final of the Qatar Open back in February. Since that setback in Doha, followed
by an injury withdrawal in Dubai, Williams has captured four straight titles,
upping her career total to 51.
The third-seeded Belarusian got off to a promising start on the outdoor red
clay at the Foro Italico, winning the first three points on serve in the
opening game. Williams battled back, however, and capitalized on her third
break point chance.
Williams also struggled during her initial service game. Unlike her opponent,
she was able to hold after fighting off a pair of break points, then broke
again to go up 3-0.
Azarenka earned a break in the next game when a Williams shot went awry, but
Williams won the next three games to claim the first set.
The second set remained on serve until Azarenka sent a backhand wide, giving
Williams a break and a 4-2 lead. Azarenka broke back at 15, but a double fault
enabled Williams to serve for the title. Williams closed out the match with a
love service game.
The 31-year-old Williams fired eight aces and compiled 41 winners to just 12
for Azarenka. She is now 33-1 on clay since the start of last year's clay
court season, with the lone loss coming to Virginie Razzano at Roland Garros.
Williams dropped only 14 games en route to her second Rome crown, adding to
her triumph in 2002. She became the first top seed to win the title at this
event since Dinara Safina four years ago.
Azarenka, 23, fell to 2-12 in head-to-head meetings against Williams and 1-6
in clay court finals.
05/19 10:28:46 ET