Serena celebrates title No.50
Originally published on: 13/05/13 00:00
Victory never looked in doubt for the 15-time major champion as she stormed to a 6-1 6-4 win, extending her unbeaten streak over Sharapova to 12 matches in succession. "It feels good," said Williams, who also retained her No.1 ranking with the victory. "I don't know how many more I can win. Like I say every day, 'Who knows if I'll ever win another title?' I just want to live in the moment every chance I get.
After taking three sets to get past Spanish wildcard Anabel Medina Garrigues in the quarter-final, Williams saw off Sara Errani 7-5 6-2 in the final four to set up a 15th meeting with Sharapova, who she last lost to at the 2004 WTA Championships.
The Russian went into the match with a 21-match winning streak on clay dating back to her victory in Rome last year but she got off to a slow start against Williams, who raced into a 3-0 lead before taking the opening set 6-1. Sharapova did, however, put the world No.1 under pressure early in the second by breaking to lead 3-1 but Williams, like so often in the past, found a way back into the set, taking it 6-4 and with it the title.
"I started the match really slow today, and against an opponent like [Serena] you just can't give her that because she plays extremely well when she's confident," said Sharapova, who picked up her 500th career match win when she beat Ana Ivanovic in the previous round.
"I had that break in the second set, but I wasn't able to hold it. But starting the match like that isn't going to get me anywhere, so that's something I wish I could have changed today.”
"I just tried to focus on what I was doing," added Williams. "I don't know if her start was shaky, but I felt I played well in the first few games – playing such a great athlete and great tennis player like Maria, you have to come out and play well. I really had no other choice.
“I feel like every moment I play – I don't know if it's because of what I went through – I feel like I'm so fortunate to be out there and healthy and to have an opportunity to play a sport and be really good at it," added the 31-year-old. "Hopefully I can just keep it going."