Serena Williams has captured her third title in Stanford with a 7-6 6-3 victory over Angelique Kerber. The world number 1’s champion qualities were certainly on display on Sunday as she came from 1-5 down to steamroll her way to her fourth title of the season.
It was a nervy start to the match from both ladies, Kerber looking particularly sluggish. However the German soon raced away to a 5-1 lead. The lead was down to Serena playing very average tennis as opposed to Angelique playing extremely well.
Serving for the set at 5-2, Kerber had two set point chances but was unable to convert. When Serena broke the German in the eighth game, Kerber’s body language changed. Angie knew she had just let a massive opportunity slip and she didn’t seem to recover from this disappointment at any stage during the match. An easy service hold for Serena put real pressure on the German, her second chance to serve for the set at 5-4. Serena began striking the ball very cleanly, her backhand was particularly damaging. Serena would break to love to level the set at 5-5. Angie offered some resistance in the twelfth game, forcing a tiebreak. However Serena raced through the tiebreak 7-1.
Serena continued to dominate a deflated Kerber at the start of the second set, breaking for a 2-0 lead. From here the two traded three service holds each. The problem for the German was that she was unable to put any pressure on Serena’s serve in the second set. Serena began to serve better than she had all week. At 3-5, Kerber was forced to serve to stay in the match. Down 0-40, Kerber saved three match points. Serena quickly regrouped to close out the second set 6-3.
Serena’s performance today is an ominous sign for her competitors leading into the U.S Open. Serena looks extremely fit; her movement around the court today was amazing. If she remains in this shape for the rest of the summer, I can’t see losing a match.