AUCKLAND, New Zealand – 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams claimed her first title in three years – and her first since becoming a mother – after defeating Jessica Pegula in the ASB Classic final, 6-3, 6-4.
Serena played near perfect tennis in the semi-finals to defeat rising American star Amanda Anisimova in 43-minutes. It proved to be the perfect preparation for Serena, who served two aces and dropped serve just once against Pegula to claim her 73rd career WTA title.
In her winner’s speech during the trophy presentation, Serena also announced that she will be donating all of her prize money to the Australian bushfire relief fund, as well as auctioning off each dress she’s worn across her nine matches in Auckland.
Coming into the final, Serena hadn’t won a set in any of her previous post-maternity finals, falling twice in the championship round at Wimbledon and US Open as well as retiring in the first set of the 2019 Rogers Cup final.
History looked like it might be threatening to repeat itself as Pegula got off to a fast start in Auckland, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead after breaking in an edgy opening game. But the former World No.1 bounced right back, saving four break points to avoid a 0-3 deficit and leveling the score at 3-3. From there, Serena didn’t look back, and dialled up the aggression to close out the set 6-3.