STANFORD, Calif. (www.mubadalasvc.com
) – Facing a challenge for the first time during her dominant tournament run, Serena Williams raised her game to another level when it mattered most.
Williams notched a 7-5, 6-1 victory over lucky loser Coco Vandeweghe on Sunday afternoon, defending her singles title at the Bank of the West Classic. Ranked No. 4 in the world, Williams became the first repeat Bank of the West Classic champion since Kim Clijsters (2005, 2006).
Sunday’s victory was even more special considering Williams captured her fifth career Wimbledon title and 14th major championship overall just eight days ago.
Collecting the 43rd singles title of her career, Williams joined Victoria Azarenka and Sara Errani as the only players to win four WTA singles titles so far this year.
After only dropping 10 games combined during the week, Williams encountered the most resistance from Vandeweghe, who entered the main draw as a lucky loser in the qualifying round. Appearing in her first career singles final, the 20-year-old Vandeweghe was the first lucky loser to advance to a WTA final since Melinda Czink’s runner-up finish at Canberra in 2007. Ranked No. 120 entering the tourney, Vandeweghe caught everyone’s attention by knocking off No. 4 seed Jelena Jankovic and No. 5 seed Yanina Wickmayer en route to the final.
Fans in attendance witnessed the first all-American singles final at any WTA event since Serena Williams faced sister Venus Williams at the WTA Championships in November 2009. It was also the most recent all-American WTA singles final to be played in the United States since Serena Williams battled Lindsay Davenport at Los Angeles in 2004.
Williams polished off Sunday’s match in just one hour and 27 minutes, her longest contest of the week. Williams’ trademark serve proved to be a key weapon, resulting in nine aces and connecting on 67.0 percent of her first serves. The performance was much improved compared to yesterday’s semifinal, in which Williams totaled more double faults (4) than aces (3) and connected on only 38 percent of her first serves.
Tied at 2-2 in the first set, Williams held serve to take a 3-2 lead. Vandeweghe responded by ripping off three straight games to claim a 5-3 advantage. Staring at a deficit for the first time in the tournament, Williams countered with four straight games to claim the set 7-5.
With the second set knotted at 1-1, Williams won the three games in a row to take a 4-1 lead. Vandeweghe held serve on two of the next three games to creep within 5-3 before Williams held serve to secure the match.
Williams is the sixth different winner of the Bank of the West Classic over the last eight years.
ABOUT THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC: The Bank of the West Classic is one of the oldest women-only professional tennis tournaments in the world and is the first stop of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. A WTA Premier event, the Bank of the West Classic features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $740,000. Held on Stanford University’s campus at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium since 1997, former champions include: Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams. The Bank of the West Classic is owned and operated by IMG.
ABOUT BANK OF THE WEST: Founded in 1874, $62.4 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 700 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with nearly 200,000 employees.
ABOUT IMG: IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil, India and Turkey; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing.