STANFORD, Calif. (www.mubadalasvc.com) – 17-time Grand Slam champion and World No. 1 Serena Williams managed to get back on track in one of her most comfortable settings.
Competing in her first tournament since suffering early singles and doubles exits at Wimbledon last month, Williams defeated Angelique Kerber 7-6 (1), 6-3 on Sunday afternoon in the championship match of the 2014 Bank of the West Classic at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
Capturing her WTA-leading fourth title of the year, Williams claimed her third Bank of the West Classic title in four years overall after winning back-to-back crowns in 2011-12. Williams, who collected her 61st career WTA singles title, extended her winning streak at the tournament to 13 consecutive matches.
Williams, who is set to spend her 200th non-consecutive week at the No. 1 spot in the rankings, improved to 5-1 all-time against Kerber, who was seeking her first title of 2014 after three-runner up finishes.
The result was similar to Williams’ semifinal victory against Andrea Petkovic on Saturday, in which the top-seeded Williams had to overcome a difficult first set before cruising in the second.
Making her Bank of the West Classic main draw debut, Kerber was bidding to become the first lefthander to claim the tournament title since Martina Navratilova in 1993 (Oakland). Kerber raced out to a 5-1 advantage and was serving for the first set at 5-2. But Williams saved two set points and proceeded to win five consecutive games. Tied at 6-6, Williams took a 5-0 lead in the tiebreaker and never looked back.
Williams remained in control during the second set, winning the final two games after Kerber held serve to close to within 4-3.
Williams’ powerful serve was a consistent weapon throughout the week, hammering home three aces in each set to increase her tournament-leading total to 31.
Kerber, who dropped to 3-9 in her career in singles finals, won a pair of three-setters on her way to the final while booking victories over CoCo Vandeweghe, Garbine Muguruza and Varvara Lepchenko.
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ABOUT THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC: The Bank of the West Classic is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world and is the first stop of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Owned and operated by IMG, the WTA Premier event features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $710,000. Held on Stanford University’s campus at Taube Family Tennis Stadium since 1997, former champions include: Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters.
ABOUT THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC: Founded in 1874, $68 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 600 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 190,000 employees.
ABOUT THE EMIRATES AIRLINE US OPEN SERIES: Now in its 11th season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking eight summer tournaments to the US Open. Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams won the 2013 US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles, each earning a record tennis paycheck of $3.6 million. Roger Federer (2007) and Kim Clijsters (2005) also accomplished the feat of winning the Emirates Airline US Open Series and US Open singles title within the same year.