STANFORD, Calif. (www.mubadalasvc.com) – Putting the finishing touches on a dominating week, Serena Williams notched a 7-5, 6-1 victory over third-seeded Marion Bartoli on Sunday afternoon to capture the singles title at the 2011 Bank of the West Classic.
Competing in only her third tournament since winning her 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon last year, Williams claimed her 38th career singles title. Sunday’s victory was even more memorable considering Williams is slowly returning to action following a layoff due to injury.
Despite being unseeded in the draw and carrying an uncharacteristically low world ranking, Williams proved to everyone she is still capable of returning to top form. In her five matches during the week, Williams was taken to three sets only once and surrendered just 13 games combined in her other four straight-set victories.
Williams was honored as the Bank of the West Classic champion for the first in her career. In her two previous appearances, she reached the quarterfinals in 2009 and advanced to the semifinals in 2008.
Bartoli was appearing in her third Bank of the West Classic final in four years, having won the tournament in 2009. Her path to the final was slightly easier, earning a first-round bye before Ayumi Morita retired in the quarterfinals and Dominika Cibulkova withdrew in the semifinals due to an injury.
Instead, Williams needed just one hour and 22 minutes to secure the match. Her trademark served proved to be a key weapon, resulting in 11 aces and connecting on 77.0 percent of her first serves compared to Bartoli’s clip of 46.0 percent.
Bartoli held early leads of 3-1 and 4-2 before Williams knotted the match at 4-4. Bartoli then managed to break Williams’ serve and claim a 5-4 edge. That’s when Williams embarked on an eight-game run, closing out the first set 7-5 and jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the second frame.
After Bartoli held her serve to make it 5-1, Williams cranked home a service winner to close out the match.
With the victory, Williams’ ranking is projected to climb into the top-80 while she passed the $33 million career mark in prize money.
Williams is the fifth different winner of the Bank of the West Classic over the last five years. Kim Clijsters was the tournament’s most recent repeat champion (2005, 2006).
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 Olympus 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 $721,000. 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, $58 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com) offers a full 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, one of the world's largest and best rated financial institutions with more than 200,000 employees in more than 80 countries.
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 and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing. More information is available at www.imgworld.com