STANFORD — Serena Williams left the tennis world in no doubt she was close to her best as she beat third seed Marion Bartoli 7-5, 6-1 to claim the Bank of the West Classic crown in Stanford.
The American — who had slipped to 169 in the world following a year of injury and health problems — dismantled Maria Sharapova and Germany’s Sabine Lisicki to reach the final, but found life a little tougher against Bartoli.
The Frenchwoman led 4-2 in the first set and served for it at 5-4, but Williams broke back to begin a run of eight consecutive games, which effectively sealed the match and her 38th WTA Tour title in just her third tournament back following her lengthy lay-off.
It represented a measure of revenge for Williams, who was beaten by Bartoli at Wimbledon this year, but she was not entirely satisfied with her performance.
She said: “There are still shots I’m not going for and not making that I know I can make once I get more confident and more match play. I’ll be able to make those. It’s encouraging to me that I can do more, I can do better.”
The win should send Williams back into the top 80.