Less than six months after the pulmonary embolism (blood clot in her lung) that might have killed her, Serena Williams is back to doing what she does best--winning tennis tournaments.
Avenging a loss to her in the fourth round of Wimbledon earlier this month, Serena Williams defeated No. 3 seed Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-1 in the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, only her third tournament since her hospitalization in February.
The impressive final was a cherry on top of what has been an incredible week for the youngest Williams sister. Serena opened her tournament with a 6-0, 6-0 double bageling of Anastasia Rodionova, then dropped a combined seven games against Sabine Lisicki and Maria Sharapova in her quarterfinal and semifinal.
The final started off shakily for Serena, with Bartoli breaking in the third game of the first set and again in the ninth. The fast conditions play to Bartoli's strengths tremendously well, and her aggressive second serving left Serena handcuffed time and time again.
But after Bartoli's coach/dad (who you may remember from his eviction during her third round match at Wimbledon) came on court to help her as his daughter was about to serve for the first set at 5-4, the match completely changed. Bartoli only won one more game, losing the next eight games in a row before eventually falling 7-5, 6-1.
After winning championship point, Serena Williams dropped her racquet and threw fists up in the air, the type of celebration she normally reserves for winning Grand Slams.
But this title was far more notable than most for a number of reasons:
- The title was the first WTA singles title won by any American since Serena won Wimbledon in 2010.
- It was the first WTA singles title won by an U.S. on American soil since Serena won the US Open in 2008.
- This was Serena's first title at a regular WTA Tour stop (i.e. not a Grand Slam or Year-End Championships) since Charleston in 2008.
Nice to have you back and dominating, Serena. Sorry, everyone else.
Stay tuned to SB Nation's coverage of the 2011 US Open Series at SBNation.com as well as on Twitter, @DailyForehand .