Saturday, 06 June, 2020

Serena Williams ends tennis title drought in New Zealand

Serena Williams ends tennis title drought in New Zealand Serena Williams wins Auckland Open after victory over Jessica Pegula
Cary Erickson | 14 January, 2020, 10:25

The 23-time major victor donated her $43,000 winner's check to the fund-raising appeal for victims of Australian wildfires, joining many other tennis stars, such as Ash Barty, Nick Kygrios, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova, who have pledged money to the already months-long fire emergency there.

However, throughout the Auckland Classic, and particularly during the finals, Williams was the veritable picture of calm and poise; even her trademark energetic entry onto the court in her final against American Jessica Pegula was a quiet one - Williams surveying the stands and looking out upon the crowds.

It is Williams' first title since 2017 - and her first as a mother - since she won the Australian Open while pregnant.

"It feels good. It's been a long time, I think you could see the relief on my face", said Williams.

According to 1 News, the cloak, whose feathers are from a native duck of New Zealand, was created previous year to honor the first Māori to play in Wimbledon, Ruia Morrison. "So at the start of the tournament, I chose to donate a dress to every game I played and donate all my prize money to a good cause".

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Serena, with her 73rd WTA title, became the first woman to win singles titles in four different decades.

Serena Williams is no stranger to making history, and while she's modest, we have the receipts. "You have to be your biggest cheerleader, especially if you're feeling you're not doing everything right - or even if you are doing everything right, but things aren't working out for you", she said. Williams won his first WTA title in February 1999 by defeating Amélie Mauresmo of France.

But Williams visibly called on herself to lift near the middle of the set, breaking to level at 3-3.

With her confidence boosted, Williams held to love in the next game, broke Pegula again, and then served to clinch the first set.

Despite the fact that she's still making these finals in her late thirties, the belief in her chances to win 24th Grand Slam title has begun to wane a fair amount.