Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Serena loses her serenity, wins trophy

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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Serena Williams rallied past Jelena Jankovic 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 Sunday to win her 15th straight match and second consecutive title at the Family Circle Cup.

It was the second straight tournament where the top-ranked Williams dropped the opening set in the final before digging in for victory. A week ago, she lost 6-4 to Maria Sharapova then won 12 of the next 15 games to win the Sony Open.

This time, Williams had her serve broken twice and lost the first set. Things turned at the start of the second set with a testy exchange between the competitors as Williams complained about Jankovic serving before she was ready. Williams used the dispute to fire up her play, winning six straight games and 12 of the final 14.

Williams earned $125,000 for her third Family Circle Cup crown, also winning here in 2008 and 2012.

Williams should be favoured whenever she plays, especially when provoked , as with Jankovic.

The 28-year-old former world No. 1 served to open the second set while Williams held her racquet in front to signal she wasn't ready. During the next changeover, Jankovic asked chair umpire Kader Nouni how long she needed to wait before serving.

"Until I'm ready," Williams shot back. The exchange seemed to fire up the 31-year-old Willams, who had looked sluggish and off her game in losing the first set. She broke Jankovic to start the second set, then won her service game at love to start things rolling.

Before Jankovic could regain her footing, Williams rolled to a 6-0 victory.

Jankovic said the dispute took away her focus. "I gave her wins. I let her back in the match," Jankovic said. "That was my mistake."

Jankovic led 1-0 in the third set, but Williams took the next three games to regain control.

Williams pounded in a 110 mile-per-hour serve that drove Jankovic wide, then put away the ball near the net to take the match.

Any hard feelings didn't seem to last. Jankovic met Williams with a big smile at the net as the two exchanged good wishes. When the stadium announcer asked the crowd to acknowledge Jankovic's strong play as she left, Williams joined fans in applauding.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 8, 2013 C11

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