Top-seed Serena Williams overcame a slow start and a resilient opponent in compatriot Jessica Pegula to win the ASB Classic in Auckland on Sunday. The 38-year-old won 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 35 minutes. At the start of the first set, Pegula came out as the better player as she quickly seized a break on Williams' serve and even had break points to go up by two breaks.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion, however, bided her time to assert herself in the match. She first saved breakpoints for what would have been the second break and, then, broke back Pegula to level the set at 3-all. A second break on Pegula's serve gave Serena the lead for the first time in the set, and the match.
Thereafter, there was no looking back for her. Williams took the first set 6-3 in 51 minutes and carried over the momentum into the second set, going up a break in the third game. This is Williams' first title since the 2017 Australian Open – essentially, her first since she returned to competitive tennis after motherhood.
In winning her 73rd title here, Williams has now won titles in four decades, since winning her maiden WTA singles title at the Open Gaz de France, in February 1999. Williams is also in contention to win the doubles title with Caroline Wozniacki.
Williams and Wozniacki play Asia Mohammed and Taylor Townsend in the doubles final. If the American-Danish duo claim the title, it would be the first time since 2016 Wimbledon that Williams would have swept both singles and doubles titles in a tournament.