Serena Williams won her third title of the season on Sunday after surviving a first-set scare to beat Jelena Jankovic 3-6 6-0 6-2 at the Family Circle Cup final in Charleston.
The victory puts Serena in good stead heading into the clay season, where she faces a tough few weeks in Monte Carlo and Madrid before heading into the summer’s first grand slam at Roland Garros.
Not that Serena had it all her own way under the North Carolina sunshine; Jankovic served with supreme accuracy to boss Serena in the opening set but couldn’t continue her momentum into the second, collapsing to the American’s power to lose six straight games.
The 2012 defending champion wowed the crowd with some impressive base-line rallies and was quick to pounce on Jankovic’s serves, especially in a match-turning second set.
Serena remained calm and collective into the third, broke twice and served out for the match in style with a strong serve-volley.
It was the third time the 31-year-old has won the Charleston title and her first clay title of the season. What was most impressive was not only her fitness – that has put her in good stead all week – but the fact she used the home crowd to her advantage with some fairly vocal performances after nailing crucial points.
The combination of power and momentum eventually did it for Serena – who beat her sister Venus 6-1 6-2 in the semis to reach her fourth final on the Charleston clay.