Triumphant Serena Williams Captures Third Volvo Car Open Title
By: Nicholas McCarvel
It was a charming third time for Serena Williams Sunday at the Volvo Car Open.
The world No. 1 won her 15th straight match in Charleston, beating No. 9 seed Jelena Jankovic, champion here in 2007, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 in an entertaining final on Billie Jean King Court.
Serena adds to her 2008 and 2012 hauls here, and joins an elite club of women who have won three or more titles at the Volvo Car Open: Chris Evert (eight), Martina Navratilova (four) and Steffi Graf (four).
"It's definitely a really cool accomplishment," said the American of her win. "Especially at this particular tournament that has been around for so long. So I really I just try to keep doing things and making different accomplishments."
In doubles, Lucie Safarova and Kristina Mladenovic upset No. 1 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber earlier in the day, capturing the crown 6-3, 7-6 (6).
"It was an amazing day, an amazing feeling to win this title here with Lucie, especially [since] it was our first time playing together," said Mladenovic, the Frenchwoman. "I really enjoyed my week here, and we played some really great tennis."
Safarova won here a year ago with a different partner. Both of her two career WTA doubles titles have come in Charleston.
For Serena, it was a 49th win in her professional career that included a 6-1, 6-2 victory over her big sister Venus in the semifinals. She had also beaten Safarova, the No. 6 seed, in the quarterfinals.
"I never go in a tournament expecting to lose, so I just expect to do the best I can," said the world No. 1. "If that meant that I won, then that's great and if it meant that I lost but I played a good match, then I have to learn to be okay with that."
But she didn't lost Sunday or all week long and now holds a 22-3 record at the Volvo Car Open in six appearances. She is 23-2 in 2013, claiming titles in Brisbane and Miami, as well.
"She played really well, and like I said, she is No. 1 for a reason at this moment," said the Serbian, who is ranked No. 18 in the world. "She is serving very well and she hits the ball harder than anyone else. Physically she is the strongest out there."
It was a strong week for the 28-year-old, as well, who registered her 500th professional win in the quarterfinals, making her one of just seven active players to achieve such a feat. She is now 17-6 in 2013.
"I gave my best. It's the end of the tournament, the finals ... I'm pretty pleased, and I had a great tournament overall."
It was a great tournament as whole, seeing a record-breaking single-session attendance record Saturday afternoon for the semifinals with 9,538 fans. Some 8,000-plus watched Sunday's final.
"I can't wait to come back next year," Serena said on court during the trophy presentation.
Next year's tournament is March 29-April 6, 2014.