Serena Williams captured the Brisbane International title on Saturday as she defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1 in the final, which was over in less than an hour.
Williams is continuing her resurgence that she began in the second half 2012 season. She has won 35 of her last 36 matches, which include titles at Wimbledon, the 2012 London Olympics, the U.S. Open and WTA championships. Her last defeat came against No. 5 Angelique Kerber in Cincinnati last August.
The 21-year-old Pavlyuchenkova, who was semi-finalist in Brisbane 2011 before losing to eventual champion Petra Kvitova, seems to struggle against Williams every time they meet.
“I always feel like I don’t know how to play tennis when I play against you,” she told Williams during the trophy presentation, who now leads the series 4-0.
Williams, a 15-time major winner, dominated from the beginning of the match to the very end. She went on a run of seven straight games after being tied in the first set 2-2.
The 31-year-old Williams elevated her play, allowing her to strike nine aces and hit 24 winners. She also won 91 percent of her first serves.
“Everything just came together with the right timing with me wanting to do better, with me wanting to work hard, (Patrick Mauratoglou) being there and having everything to work hard, and having the same mind frame of playing matches for the way I like to play,” Williams said.
Mauratoglou is Williams new coach, but also coaches Pavlyuchenkova.
Williams managed to advance to finals after top-ranked Victoria Azarenka withdrew a half hour before their semifinal Friday night because of an infected toe on her right foot. The 23-year-old Azarenka was not the only top seed ousted by an injury, second-ranked Maria Sharapova withdrew due to an injured collarbone.
Pavlyuchenkova beat Kvitova in the second round, and fourth-seeded Kerber in Friday’s quarterfinals to advance to the finals. Even with the momentum headed into the finals, she felt that there was nothing she could do to stop Williams.
“When she’s on fire, well, I feel like there is not much I can do. I mean, she’s a great player and she deserves to win,” Pavlyuchenkova said.
Williams credits her comeback since losing in the first-round at the French Open to her dedication to being more composed and serene, which has allowed her to get into her zone on the court.
“I was looking at a lot of old matches on YouTube, and I feel like right now I’m playing some of my best tennis,” Williams said. “I feel like I want to do better and play better still.”
She will have the opportunity to play even better as she attempts to win her sixth Australian Open title in Melbourne that begins Jan. 14. Williams is currently ranked No. 3 on the WTA tour, but if she wins the Australian Open she will regain the No.1 ranking.
Williams would become the oldest woman to hold the top spot. Chris Evert currently claims the record from November 1985, when she was 30 years, 11 months and three days old.