The 13-time Grand Slam champion was sidelined for the better part 2011 due to health issues, but since her return, she’s won three premier level event titles: Stanford, Rogers Cup, and last week’s clay-court Family Circle Cup in Charleston, SC. She made the finals of the 2011 US Open and the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.
In Charleston, Venus Williams, 31, was also part of the field, which included some of the sport’s top players, but after three solid matches was edged – for the first time in their five meetings – in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 by 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur. Stosur’s victory threw a monkey wrench in what would’ve been the first all-Williams semifinal in some time had Venus prevailed.
The Aussie’s winning feeling was short-lived, however.
Stosur, 5th-ranked and 2nd-seeded, next met up with Serena Williams (for the third time in the last three important tournaments) in the semis in Venus’ stead and was mercilessly dismantled, 1-6, 1-6. Stosur typically proves to be a formidable foe, but Serena dominated the 59-minute match with incredible power and accuracy, never giving Stosur the opportunity to gain her footing. Serena carried that dominant form over to the tournament’s final held the following day and nearly shut out lefty Czech, Lucie Safarova, finishing with a 6-0, 6-1 scoreline in 58 minutes.
“I can’ t say that I’ve played this consistently, this well in a while … I played well yesterday and I was just thinking I hope I can play this way again, and I did, which is great for me confidence wise,” Serena said.
Along with the title – her second in Charleston, Williams earned $115k for the win.
The Family Circle Cup marks the beginning of clay court season for women’s tennis and will culminate in May with Grand Slam, Roland Garros held in Paris.