Serena Wil­liams romps to her 8th Miami crown

The China Post - - SPORTS -

World num­ber one Serena Wil­liams joined an elite club Satur­day, win­ning her eighth Miami WTA ti­tle with a com­pre­hen­sive 6-2, 6-0 win over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.

The 33-year-old U.S. su­per­star, who won her 19th Grand Slam ti­tle in Australia this year, lifted the tro­phy in the elite pre­mier level tour­na­ment for the third straight year.

She also won three straight Miami ti­tles from 2002-04 and backto-back ti­tles in 2007-08.

Wil­liams had al­ready sur­passed St­effi Graf for most Miami tri­umphs with her win last year.

On Satur­day she joined Graf, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert as the only Open Era play­ers to win the same event at least eight times.

Graf won nine ti­tles in Ber­lin, Evert won eight in Hil­ton Head, and Navratilova achieved the feat in seven tour­na­ments — in­clud­ing her nine Wim­ble­don ti­tles.

“It feels re­ally good to have eight un­der my belt,” Wil­liams said.

“Can’t say I thought I would win eight, es­pe­cially in the be­gin­ning of the week,” added the cham­pion, who had strug­gled with her serve and un­forced er­rors in pre­vi­ous matches.

“I had a cou­ple matches where I had nearly 60 un­forced er­rors in both, so I just needed to kind of get my mind back there and say, ‘Serena, you nor­mally don’t play like this, so just go to how you nor­mally play,” she said of how she tried to re­group af­ter claw­ing past world num­ber three Si­mona Halep in the semi­fi­nals.

In Suarez Navarro, Wil­liams faced an op­po­nent she had beaten in four prior en­coun­ters with­out drop­ping a set.

Serena’s the Best

World num­ber 12 Suarez Na- varro, play­ing in the big­gest fi­nal of her ca­reer, wasn’t sur­prised to find the win­ners zing­ing past her from ev­ery part of the court.

“When I play with Serena I know that she’s the best,” Suarez Navarro said. “She has the game to make me play bad.

“But this time I be­lieved in me, in how I’m play­ing the other matches. I tried. I tried un­til the last point, but it was tough and dif­fi­cult for me.”

Suarez Navarro held her nerve and her serve through the first five games.

But Wil­liams con­verted her third break chance of the sixth game to grab a 4-2 lead in the open­ing set, con­sol­i­dat­ing the break with an easy hold.

Suarez Navarro saved two set points against her serve in the next game, but Wil­liams gave her­self an­other chance with a fore­hand win­ner and Suarez Navarro handed her the set with an er­ror.

Suarez Navarro had a chance to break in the first game of the sec­ond set, but Wil­liams held on then broke at love in the next game.

She pol­ished off the tri­umph in just 56 min­utes.

It was a sat­is­fy­ing win for Wil­liams, com­ing af­ter a trou­ble­some knee prompted her to for­feit her sched­uled semi­fi­nal at the pre­mier level tour­na­ment in In­dian Wells a fort­night ear­lier.

Wil­liams hasn’t lost a com­pet­i­tive match since Oc­to­ber, when she fell to Halep in the round robin phase of the WTA Fi­nals — which Wil­liams went on to win.

Suarez Navarro lost her sev­enth WTA fi­nal in eight ap­pear­ances. But her fine week in Florida, where her vic­tims in­cluded Venus Wil­liams, will see her break into the top 10 in the world rank­ings on Mon­day.

AP

Carla Suarez Navarro, of Spain, left, and Serena Wil­liams, pose for pho­tog­ra­phers with their tro­phies af­ter the women’s fi­nal at the Miami Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Key Bis­cayne, Flo­ria on Satur­day, April 4.

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