Top-ranked Serena Williams breezed to her third Rogers Cup title Sunday with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over unseeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
It was her eighth WTA title of the year and the 54th of her career.
didn't drop a set all week and lost only 22 games, almost half that
total against third-seed Agnieszka Radwanska in a semifinal that proved
her only real test in this U.S. Open tuneup.
With the absence of
top-five players Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, and the early
exit of Wimbledon champ Marion Bartoli, all because of injury, Williams
faced few obstacles in her path to the title.
"No tournament is
ever easy, especially being in the position I am in," she said. "The
tournament starts and they expect you to win. And the tournament is
like, 'You're going to be in the final and after your semifinal I want
you to do this, and you have to do this and this press.' Who knows if
I'll even make it to the semifinals? It's a lot of pressure. It's not
Williams plays this week in Cincinnati and will be the
defending champion at the U.S Open. Despite having lost only one match
since March, a stunning early exit at Wimbledon, she says she can still
"For me it's always about constantly improving and never
saying 'I did great and I can be satisfied,'" she said. "I did great
(today), but what can I do better? What can I improve on? That's what I
always strive for. When I get satisfied, and for a lot of players, the
(playing) level goes down."
Cirstea was appearing in only her
third WTA final and looking to build on her only title — in 2008 at
Tashkent. This tournament proved a breakthrough. She ousted two former
No. 1 players (Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki) before defeating
defending champion Petra Kvitova in the quarters and fourth-seeded Li Na
in the semifinals.
"For me it's been a really positive week and I'm going to take everything that well to the next tournament," she said.
was unsteady from the opening game, double-faulting the first point and
again at 30-40 to give Williams an early break. Williams broke again
for 3-0 after Cirstea sent a backhand wide. That prompted a visit from
her Australian coach, Darren Cahill.
The pep talk appeared to work
momentarily. Cirstea won four straight points to break back and held
serve at 3-2. But Williams quickly removed any chance of an upset,
winning two straight games and acing a winner to make it 6-2.
start was not as bad as the scored showed," Cirstea said. "The first
three games I had really good chances so I could have been up
three-love. Suddenly I found myself down three-love. I know the score
seems quite tough but there were moments when I felt the match was
closer than it seemed."
With shouts of "Sorana" and "Serena"
volleying around the stadium, splashes of Romania's blue, yellow and red
could be seen dotting the Rexall Centre stands on a warm, sunny
"I was surprised to see how many Romanians there were
out there and how many flags I've seen," she said. "It was an incredible
atmosphere and it made me feel like home when they were screaming,
supporting me and saying positive things. I'm looking forward to coming
But Cirstea's contingent had even less to cheer for in
the second set. Williams used her trademark power strokes to keep
Cirstea running and ripped an ace to hold serve at 2-0.
her head hanging low, again called for Cahill. But it didn't do much
good. Williams eased through the final four games and wrapped up the
match in just more than hour.
Williams earned $426,000 for the victory. Cirstea takes home $213,000, almost half her prize money so far this year.
Cirstea became teary during the trophy presentation.
I'm quite emotional," she said. "Of course, I was disappointed because I
wanted to play better, so it's mixed feelings out there. I think even
if I won today I would still be crying."
All three of Williams'
Rogers Cup titles have come in Toronto, the others in 2001 and 2011. She
says she loves playing in this city because of the friends who come to
see her play. Local hip-hop star Drake, also present for her 2011 win,
cheered her from courtside.
"We're really good friends," Williams said. "I was excited that he made it today."
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