MADRID – Serena Williams kept the No. 1, and added No. 50.
Williams beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Madrid Open on Sunday to retain her No. 1 ranking and collect her 50th career title, while Rafael Nadal eased by Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4 for his fifth title since returning from a knee injury.
The second-ranked Sharapova would have taken the top ranking with a win, but Williams stormed out to an early lead as Sharapova struggled with her serve.
Despite Sharapova briefly recovering her poise in the second set, Williams’ form never dipped as she eased to the title.
“It feels good,” Williams said about winning her 50th title. “I don’t know how many more I can win. Who knows if I will ever win another title? I just want to live the dream. Hopefully, I can keep it going.
“When you first start out everything is so exciting. Now I expect to win.”
Williams improved her record against Sharapova to 13-2, with her only two losses coming in 2004.
Williams, 31, playing in her first red clay final since 2002, dominated Sharapova from the start.
“I started the match really slow and against an opponent like her you can’t give her that,” said Sharapova, who had won her previous seven red-clay finals. “I wasn’t reacting well. I wasn’t moving well. Not only the double faults I made, I didn’t have a lot of great first serves in. She was really stepping up.”
Cheered on by the home crowd at the Caja Magica, the fifth-ranked Nadal cruised to his 55th career title and extended his head-to-head record with Wawrinka to 9-0.
It was Nadal’s seventh straight final since recovering from a nagging case of tendinitis in his left knee that sidelined him for seven months.
“I’m very happy and maybe this victory is even more special considering how complicated this year has been,” Nadal said.
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