Big-serving Serena Williams captures Toronto Cup

TORONTO, (Reuters) – Serena Williams won her second  straight tournament and proved her mettle ahead of the U.S. Open  with a convincing 6-4 6-2 win over Australia’s Samantha Stosur  in the Toronto Cup final yesterday.   

The former world number one, playing in just her fourth  tournament since returning from an 11-month layoff in June,  capped the victory in style with an ace and then raised her arms  in the air before jumping up and down repeatedly. 
  

Serena Williams

Williams, who won the Stanford Classic last month, held her  serve throughout the 77-minute match and called her game solid  despite acknowledging there is room for improvement for the U.S.  Open, which begins on Aug. 29.   

“My game is here and I feel like there are a lot of  improvements I want to make — being able to close out big  points and winning on big points and capitalising on that and  still returning a little bit better,” Williams told reporters. “But overall it’s solid, I want to definitely keep it up and  not go down.”  

Stosur went toe-to-toe with Williams in a first set that  went with serve until the 13-times grand slam champion broke in  the ninth game with a forehand volley to the empty side of the  court. She served out in the next game.  
 
Williams had sent a screaming backhand winner down the line  one point previously, which she said was when the match turned  in her favour. “I definitely think that’s when the match started changing,  but for the most part I was really fighting until that point,”  Williams said.
Williams broke Stosur in the opening game of the second set  with a cross-court winner. And after dropping a 12-point game to Stosur, Williams  captured 12 of 14 points during a three-game stretch to go ahead  5-1.   

The 10th-seeded Stosur held serve in the next game but  tournament organisers, perhaps unknowingly, showed little faith  in her ability to mount a comeback.   

During a change of sides before Williams had her first  chance to serve for the match, they squeezed in a short clip on  the main scoreboard thanking fans for attending the tournament  and asking them to buy tickets for next year. Williams followed that with a solid final game, firing four  of her nine aces past a helpless Stosur, who saw only one break  point during the match. “For me to be able to win I had to play close to my best  tennis, and I wasn’t quite at that that mark,” Stosur told  reporters. “She makes it look very easy and it’s not that easy  just to come back on tour and win two events in your first four  tournaments.”

Williams, who next plays the Cincinnati Open, improved to  11-0 in hard court matches this year and is looking like the  dominant player who captured the Wimbledon title last year  before her layoff.   

She entered the tournament as the world number 80 but is  projected to go as high as 31 when the rankings are released today. Despite that, Williams considers herself an underdog for the  year’s final grand slam. “I never go in as a favourite, I feel  like I’m still the underdog,” she said.   

“I went through a lot of things physically, mentally and  emotionally, and going through so much so I am just taking it  one day at a time and kind of like one match at a time.”  
 
Victoria Azarenka withdrew from the doubles final  with an injured right hand, clouding the world number four’s  participation in the U.S. Open.   

Azarenka, who lost in straight sets to Williams in  Saturday’s semi-final, withdrew from the doubles match along  with playing partner Maria Kirilenko before taking the court.

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