Serena Williams, 30, has lived up to expectations on the controversial blue clay in Madrid, Spain.
In just 1 hour and 4 minutes, Serena both won her 41st career WTA singles title, surpassing Kim Clijsters’ record and edging closer to her older sister Venus’, and demolished the surging current world no. 1, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. She’s now 13-0 on clay this season and will move up from her current position as no. 9 in the world to no. 6 when next week’s rankings are released.
On her way to the Mutua Madrid Open victory, Serena came out firing on all cylinders, taking the first set 6-1 in 33 minutes. Azarenka appeared undone at the outset, double faulting six times and spraying balls long and wide on her attempted returns of Serena’s powerful serves. The intimidation factor often frazzles Williams’ opponents, considering her well-publicized arsenal of weapons.
The second set, however, offered short-lived a glimmer of hope for the Belarusian who’s been accustomed to Whodini-like comebacks during her recent winning streak. She seemed to settle down a bit after losing her opening service game and was able to close out three consecutive easy games without her serves being blazed past her by Williams’ deadly returns. Williams, however, was too rock solid on her own serve, riding the confidence of having won the first set and having opened the second with the insurance break.
Williams only faced one break point during the championship match, and that was quickly erased by one of the 14 aces she slammed down on her way to claiming the title and the $750k prize money. The final scoreline was 6-1, 6-3, with Williams winning the final point off an ace from a whiff and an air swing of Azarenka’s racket due to a bad clay-court ball bounce on the Belarusian’s attempted return of serve. It seemed the perfect way to sum up the lopsided affair.
Azarenka usually offers more resistance against Williams than she was capable of on Sunday, but it’s pretty much the rule that a title hungry Serena Williams is a freight train not easily deterred. The 13-time Slam champion has her sights set on winning her second French Open title – 14 total – in two weeks and bringing home the Olympic Gold this summer … and based on her results of late, it’s hard not to see the story playing out just that way.