Serena Williams got her US hard-court season off to a winning start when she came from behind to beat German Angelique Kerber in the final of the Bank of the West Classic.
The top-seed and world number one was playing in her first tournament since a disastrous Wimbledon campaign, which she claimed was hampered by a severe virus, and despite having to rally from 5-1 down in the first set, the 17-times Grand Slam Champion strolled to a 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 win over her German opponent for her third Stanford title, after winning in 2011 and 2012.
Good start to US Open preparations
It was also Williams' 61st career title and fourth of the year, after wins in Brisbane, Miami and Rome, and although the victory will give her confidence on the hard-courts with the US open a few weeks away, it is her form in the Grand Slams this season that have left many of her fans baffled.
Bad Slam form
In 2013 Williams won three of the four Slams on offer and an additional eight tournaments on the WTA during a season that suggested she was set to dominate the ladies game for some time to come, however after being knocked out in the fourth round of the Australian Open, the second round at the French and the third round at Wimbledon, many believe that perhaps the end is near for the 32-year old American.
Write her off at your peril, although it does appear that the aura she once had over her opponents has disappeared, as a fearless new generation of talent attempts to dethrone her at the top of the ladies game.
It is difficult to explain how one could have been so dominant one year and not the next, however one thing is for sure, Williams hasn't just suddenly become a bad player, after all bad players don't win four WTA Tour events in a season like she has already done.
Serena Williams winning the 2013 Rogers Cup
Hard-courts are her favourite and best surfaces as suggested by the 39 titles she has won on it, and playing in the US after spending much of the season away from home, will unquestionably give her a boost.
Williams continues her preparation for the US Open next week at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, a tournament she has won on three occasions and arrives as the defending champion.
The WTA served up another winner this weekend when Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Kurumi Nara in three sets to lift her first title in over four years at the Citi Open in Washington.
Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open and 2009 French Open winner, won a thrilling final 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to lift her 14th WTA Tour title.
The 29-year old Russian last lifted a title in San Diego in 2010.
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