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By Chris Oddo | Sunday, August 3, 2014

 
Serena Williams, Stanford 2014

Serena Williams overcame a passive start on Sunday to take down Angelique Kerber, 7-6(1), 6-3, for her third Stanford title.

Photo Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty

She started slow in each of her final three matches, but by the end of Sunday’s 7-6(1), 6-3 title-clinching victory over Germany’s Angelique Kerber at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford it was very clear that Serena Williams is on the fast track to another U.S. Open title defense.

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Williams claims her fourth title of 2014, and the 61st of her career, placing her just six titles behind Billie Jean King for sixth on the WTA’s all-time list.

Also of note is the fact that Williams improved her record against the WTA’s top ten to 7-0 in 2014, and the world No. 1 has now won 16 consecutive matches against the top ten.

After suffering early losses in each of the year’s first three Grand Slams, Williams appears intent on righting the ship, and she saw some of her hard work and positive attitude pay dividends this week at Stanford.

“It’s really rewarding,” said Williams after the one hour and 19-minute triumph. “I’ve been training hard all year, and hopefully some it can pay off. After Wimbledon I worked hard again, and I’m just trying to stay positive out here.”

Williams overcame a passive start that saw her fall behind a double-break to Kerber before mounting a rally and reeling off five consecutive games to lead 6-5.

With Kerber serving to stay alive in the set, Williams failed to convert a set point, but the 32-year-old quickly composed herself to race past Kerber behind some aggressive shotmaking in the tiebreaker, 7-1.

In the second set Williams capitalized on her momentum by snatching an early break, and though Kerber was able to raise her game and not let the deficit grow, she was not able to earn a break point in the second set and won only two points against Williams’ serve.

Williams drilled 37 winners on the afternoon, and broke Kerber’s serve four times on twelve opportunities.

The loss drops Kerber’s record to 0-4 in finals in 2014, and she also drops to 1-5 lifetime against Williams, having dropped each of the last eight sets they’ve played.

Notes, Numbers>>>

Williams’ streak at Stanford reaches 13 wins with the victory. She has won the Bank of the West Classic title in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Williams improves to 153-63 lifetime against the WTA’s top 10.

Kerber was bidding to become the first southpaw to win the Stanford title since 1993, when Martina Navratilova won it (tournament was played in Oakland then). The German will rise to No. 7 in the WTA’s rankings regardless of Sunday’s defeat.

 

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