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By Chris Oddo | Sunday, August 17, 2014

 
Serena Williams Western and Southern Open 2014

Serena Williams overcame a fast start from Ana Ivanovic to race to the Western and Southern Open title in Cincinnati.

Photo Source: Christopher Levy

Though she will not be as heavily favored to win at this year’s U.S. Open than she has in year’s past, Serena Williams certainly looks like the player to beat once again after claiming two titles in three weeks in North America this summer.

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Williams overcame an inspired start from surging Ana Ivanovic to race to a 6-4, 6-1 victory on Sunday in Cincinnati, claiming the Premier 5 title for the first time in six career appearances, and notching her 62nd career title in 79 final appearances.

Williams’ fifth title of 2014 leads all players, and her third consecutive victory over Ivanovic makes her fourth-round loss to the Serb at this year’s Australian Open seem more like a distant memory than an emerging trend.

Though Williams was clearly the better player on this day, the future does seem bright for the resurgent Ivanovic. The 26-year-old won her second consecutive match over Maria Sharapova in Saturday’s semifinal, and will reach a five-year high at No. 9 in the WTA rankings on Monday.

Ivanovic looked to be on her way to a statement victory in the early going on Sunday, but after jumping ahead 3-1, she failed to convert on three points for a double-break in the next game and saw Williams take over the match from that point.

The American, who cracked 12 aces and saved three of four break points on the day, reeled off ten consecutive points to seize the momentum in the tilt, and she never let go.

"It's just amazing to finally win here,” Williams said after the match. “The fans were amazing and it's so wonderful to be here."

Williams would finish the match with 26 winners and a tidy 13 unforced errors, while Ivanovic ended up with 13 winners versus 21 unforced.

“It’s been a great week for me,” Ivanovic told Williams in front of the crowd after the match. “I think I got a lesson on how to serve today. Maybe when you retire you can give me tips.”

With Williams once again in red-hot form heading into the US Open, her sights will more than likely be set on a three-peat in New York, but one can’t blame Ivanovic, who has lost seven of eight career matches with Williams, for wishing.

Notes, Numbers>>>

Williams is five titles behind Billie Jean King (67) for sixth on the WTA’s all-time list.

Williams' fifth title of 2014 is two more than any other player.

Williams clinched the Emirates Airline US Open Series title by winning her semifinal match on Saturday, and will bid for a record $4 million payout at the US Open. She owns the record for biggest payout in tennis history alongside Rafael Nadal, when in 2013 she earned $3.6 million with her US Open title.

 

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