The 16-year-old Serena Williams scored her first WTA victory in Scottsdale in November 1997, defeating Mary Pierce and Monica Seles to reach the semi-final. Over 21 years later, Serena is still active and among the world's finest players, claiming 23 Major titles in her glorious career and seeking the 24th in 2021 despite turning 40 in August.
Next week, Serena will seek the eighth Australian Open title (the first since 2017), traveling Down Under with her family and embracing a two-week quarantine in Adelaide before heading to Melbourne. The veteran is among the favorites at this week's Yarra Valley Classic at Melbourne Park, beating Daria Gavrilova and Tsvetlana Pironkova to advance into the quarter-final.
Thus, Serena has secured the 25th consecutive season with at least one WTA victory, standing second on the record list behind her sister Venus, who is on an incredible 28-year streak! Since 1999, Serena has finished the season inside the top-10 in 16 seasons, overcoming injuries and fulfilling herself as a mother to still stand among the world's leading players.
Serena has won the WTA match for 25 consecutive seasons.
Serena is giving her best to lift that elusive 24th Major crown, losing four Major finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019 and hoping for another chance in Melbourne in a couple of weeks.
It is so far so good for Williams at the Yarra Valley Classic, beating Pironkova 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 14 minutes. Serena lost nine points in eight service games, never experienced a break point and challenging rival to repeat those numbers if she wanted to stay competitive.
Finding her range right from the start, Serena produced three commanding holds in the opening set and scored three consecutive breaks for 6-1 in under 30 minutes! Pironkova raised her level in set number two after saving a break point at 1-2 to remain in contention with the better-ranked opponent.
Untroubled on serve, Williams waited patiently for a chance on the return, which came at 5-4. Tsvetlana fended off three match points and wasted two game points before Serena seized her fourth opportunity with a deep return to advance into the quarters.