Serena Wins 53rd WTA Title In Bastad

BASTAD, Sweden – Serena Williams beat Johanna Larsson in the final of the Collector Swedish Open for her 53rd WTA title, tying Monica Seles for ninth place in most WTA titles in the Open Era.


Larsson, Sweden’s No.1 player and the No.8 seed at her home event, played some inspired tennis to reach the final, and she came out of the blocks strong as well, going up a break twice early in the first set. But as the underdog served at 4-3, the No.1-ranked, No.1-seeded Williams went on a complete tear, reeling off eight games in a row and never really looking back, closing it out handily, 64 61.

“Johanna played well, and I made a lot of unforced errors in the beginning – I just hit everything out,” Williams said. “I had to kind of come back and do a little better. You just have to stay positive. I wasn’t playing well at Wimbledon when I lost, so I thought, ‘Okay, just remember what I did wrong there, and don’t make the same mistake here.’ I really wanted to do better here in Bastad this week.”

Even though it is an International-level event, Williams’ triumph at the Collector Swedish Open is a very special one – it is actually her first International-level title. She had never come away with a title in five previous attempts at the International level, in fact never even making it past the semifinals.

“It’s been such a great experience here,” Williams said of the tournament. “Everyone’s been extremely accomodating. And when I wake up I see the ocean – it reminds me a little bit of home. I really miss being at home. I’m excited to go back. But it’s just a really, really good feeling to have such a great city at your fingertips, and everything a player could possibly need is at your fingertips as well.”

Larsson’s record in WTA finals fell to 0-3, having been a runner-up in her other two finals as well, at Portoroz in 2010 (to Anna Chakvetadze) and right here in Bastad in 2011 (to Polona Hercog).

“I had some good chances in the first set today but didn’t take them, and when you’re playing such a good player, you need to take every opportunity you get,” Larsson said. “Of course I’m a little bit disappointed to lose today. If I could close the first set, maybe the match would’ve been different.

“But overall I’m happy with the week. My semifinal win was a really amazing feeling with the whole crowd behind me, and I’m definitely on a good streak right now, so I’m just trying to keep it up.”

Williams had some very kind words for Larsson, too. “I wasn’t surprised to see her playing so well,” the World No.1 said. “I thought she played well at Fed Cup – I’m really glad I got a chance to play her there. And you can see her game improving and getting better and better. She’s definitely a new Swedish star on the rise on the female side, which is obviously exciting for female tennis here in Sweden.”

The doubles final saw No.1 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Klara Zakopalova beat Alexandra Dulgheru and Flavia Pennetta, 61 64. The pair won its first WTA doubles title together – for Zakopalova it was her second individual WTA doubles title, while Medina Garrigues collected an impressive 21st.

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