Serena Williams prepares to return a shot during Sunday’s match against Ana Ivanovic at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio.
MASON, Ohio — Serena Williams got one of her most elusive titles on her sixth try.
Williams needed only 62 minutes to beat Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-1 on Sunday in the Western & Southern Open for a personal breakthrough.
She had never even reached the finals in Cincinnati until last year, when she fell apart and lost to Victoria Azarenka on a third-set tiebreaker.
No wobbles this time. After getting broken in the first game, she took control with her serve and took advantage of Ivanovic’s sloppy play, improving to 5-0 in finals this year.
Ivanovic was treated for a stomach ailment during her nearly 3-hour win over Maria Sharapova in the semifinals Saturday night.
She didn’t have much left against Williams, who served 12 aces while getting a long-awaited trophy for her efforts.
The only other event that Williams has played six times without a title is Sydney.
It was a good matchup for Williams, who is 7-1 in her career against Ivanovic. Her only loss came at the Australian Open this year. Although their last three matches have been close — all going three sets — this one was one-sided after the first few games.
Williams developed a stiff back that limited her serve in the semifinals on Saturday night. She moved stiffly at the start Sunday, double-faulted in the first game and was broken — an ominous sign.
But she started moving better and took control with her serve, pulling even at 3-3. She clinched the set when Ivanovic fell behind 15-30, then double-faulted twice in a row.
The back problem came into play in the second set. Williams winced after a serve in the opening game and arched her back. She stretched her back a few times between points.
Ivanovic couldn’t take advantage. Despite the loss, she’ll move back into the top 10 in the WTA rankings with her strong showing in Cincinnati.MORE IN Sports Wire
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