After three years (Australian Open), Serena Williams has returned to winning a title. The 23-time Slam champion won in Auckland by beating Jessica Pegula in the final. The American will be one of the favorites in Melbourne, where she will try to equal Margaret Court's all-time record.
"It was a good match," said Serena after her win. "I didn't have a lot of time to reflect on it because I went straight into [the] doubles [final, losing to Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend], but I remember it being really intense, actually.
I don't think I hit a tremendous amount of aces - she was getting all my serves back. My groundstrokes were probably the strongest thing in that match. It's good for me to win matches where I'm not getting too many free points, so I have to rely on my groundstrokes."
"I definitely didn't have nerves," Williams added. "Did I get broken in the first game? I just didn't come out the way I should have, and she was playing well. 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.
It's pretty satisfying just to get a win in the final. That was really important for me - and I just want to build on it. It's just a step towards the next goal. I feel fortunate and blessed to be out here and to be healthy and to play. I have been playing for so long and been through so much and I’m happy to be doing something I love”.