Serena Williams, 29, took the Rogers Cup title on Sunday, Aug. 14 in Toronto by defeating worthy opponent, Samantha Stosur of Australia, in two sets, 6-4, 6-2. The win gives her a second non-Grand Slam title in the span of four tournaments since her return from injuries and a major health crisis.
Williams’ first title in Stanford (Bank of the West) and the Toronto title are both from tournaments that are part of the U.S. Open series, where points are accumulated with each win to earn bonus money at the year end Slam.
“I never give up … I’m so happy to even be here. I wasn’t supposed to be out here, so I just keep going and having fun,” she said during the post-match interview.
“This is the best I’ve ever done at a U.S. Open series, so my goal is to do really well so I can get some extra cash since I hadn’t played the whole year [laughs] … I like to do the impossible.”
Going into the match, Williams was the heavy favorite, based on her storied tennis career, but Stosur, eager to break her title deficit, has been on a tear of late, crushing opponents with her formidable serve and impressive power. She just hadn’t met an opponent of Williams’ caliber during her streak. Once Williams, a 13-time Slam champion, dialed into returning Stosur’s serve, at 4-4 in the first set, she ran away with the match, ending it before the thunderous hovering storm clouds produced match-postponing rain, contributing a little thunder of her own in the form of an ace — her ninth — and a thunderous roar.
On the road to recovery, Williams has taken out, along with Stosur, Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli and Victoria Azarenka, all top 10 players. Her consistent performance makes her the heavy favorite going into the U.S. Open.
Williams’ next stop is Cincinnati, which will conclude the U.S. Open series preparation tournaments before the NY-based event which starts Aug. 28. She’s still an unseeded and lower ranked player, so she will have to play 45th ranked Czech, Lucie Hradecka, in the first round, with Stosur next in line.