Defending champion Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 to win the Madrid Open today allowing her to retain her number one ranking and collect her 50th career title.
With the her number one rank at stake, Williams stormed out to an early lead as Sharapova struggled with her serve. The second-ranked Russian briefly recovered her poise in the second set, but Williams’ form never wavered as she eased to the title. This was Sharapova’s first loss in a red-clay final after winning eight in a row.
Serena debuted in professional Tennis in 1995, one year after her sister Venus who burst on the scene in 1994. By the time that 2001 rolled around, she was a top 10 seeded player.
From 2002 to 2004 Serena and Venus ruled the world of tennis chalking up an incredible record of wins. 2003 saw the start of a series of set backs that would knock Serena badly. A number of injuries caused her to pull out of many competitions and as a result she began to suffer from depression.
These setbacks caused her world ranking to drop and in 2005 she began the long road of recovery and the start of her climb back up to the top, finishing the season at Number 11. Working steadily and using her Serena Slam-Serve she accumulated enough wins from 2006 to 2010 to become the number one seeded player in Women’s Tennis.
But while she was clawing her way back to the top, she still suffered from many sports related injuries which caused her to lose the number one slot in 2011. She also revealed March 2, 2011 that during her comeback she’d suffered a life threatening hematoma and a pulmonary embolism.
IN 2012 Serena got her Golden Slam by dominating the years tournaments and then joined with her sister Venus to rule the Doubles championships. In the pair’s first tournament since 2010 Wimbledon, they claimed their fifth Wimbledon doubles title and the 13th grand slam doubles title. They also successfully defended their Olympic doubles title which meant that they became the only tennis players to win four gold medals.
During the Madrid Open Williams, 31, led the match head-to-head 13-2 and the 32-year-old Sarapova has not beaten Williams since 2004 and today was no exception to her past performance against Serena.
This was Williams’s first final on red clay in over 10 years, her last being at the 2002 French Open when she beat sister Venus for her only title at Roland Garros. Serena’s performance was not overly impressive, as she struggled throughout the tournament, several times just barely scraping through to the next level.
The 31-year-old Williams, playing in her first red clay final since 2002, dominated Sharapova from the start.
Sharapova committed five double faults in her first three service games, dropping the first two as Williams easily won the first set. Her shaky serve let Williams gear up and land several winning drives before closing out the set with a floating return that clipped the line.
Sharapova broke serve to open the set and went ahead 3-1. But her serve would again betray her as she hit another double fault to give back the break.
Williams closed out the match after Sharapova recorded her eighth double fault, then hit the ball long on the final point.
By Michael Smith