Serena Williams proved why she is the world’s No. 1 female tennis player on Sunday by defeating Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 in the finals of the Madrid Open, capturing her 50th career title.
“It feels good,” Williams told reporters after the match about securing her 50th title. “I don’t know how many more I can. Who knows if I will even another title? I just want to live the dream. Hopefully, I can keep it going.”
Entering Sunday’s match, Williams was 12-2 against Sharapova. The only two losses came in 2004, but Williams took control of the game from the beginning to assure that there would not be a third loss to the second-ranked Sharapova.
The 31-year-old Williams was able to capitalize on Sharapova’s inability to control her serve. The Russian committed five double faults in her first three service games, which allowed Williams to strike several winning shots before the end of the first set.
“I started the match really slow and against an opponent like her you can’t give her that,” Sharapova said. “I wasn’t reacting well. I wasn’t moving well. Not only the double fault I made, I didn’t have a lot of great first serves in. She was really stepping up.”
Sharapova appeared to be settling into the game by the second set. She earned and converted her first break point, which allowed her to open the second set with a 3-1 lead.
However, her inconsistent serve proved to be pivotal, causing her to double fault and cede back her break after Williams had set up three break points.
Williams was able to close out Sharapova after she recorded her eighth and final double fault, which improved her record to 13-2 against the Russian.
Had Sharapova defeated Williams, she would have earned the No. 1 spot, but for now Williams will retain that coveted ranking. But they could meet again at the end of this month during the French Open, competing in the finals and the No. 1 ranking.