Serena Looks For More Year-End Success
MADRID, Spain - The renaissance of Serena Williams as a major force on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour has been one of the stories of the season and the American will be desperate to close out 2007 in style next week in Madrid. A string of injuries in 2006 meant that the powerful American started the year at a lowly No.94 in the world, but a spectacular championship run at the Australian Open announced her return to the upper echelons of the game in dramatic fashion.
After dismantling Maria Sharapova in the Melbourne final, Williams continued her rise up the rankings with an equally impressive title run in Miami. The 26-year-old's Roland Garros dream came to an abrupt halt when she was defeated by Justine Henin in the quarterfinals and the peerless Belgian also proved to be her nemesis at the same stage of the next two majors, Wimbledon and the US Open.
Williams will be appearing in the season-ending showpiece for the fourth time in her career and after a runner-up finish on the indoor courts of Moscow a few weeks ago she is sure to be confident of continuing her fine record at the event. The former world No.1 took home the title on her debut in 2001 and runner-up finishes in both 2002 and 2004 prove she certainly has the ability to triumph in the Spanish capital.
"I'm delighted and surprised to have made it to the Sony Ericsson Championships," Williams said. "When I started the year, I honestly never thought I would be in the position I am in now with a Grand Slam title under my belt and getting closer to playing some great tennis. I thought I missed my chance by not playing this summer, but I have been really excited to be playing in Europe the last few weeks and I made it sooner than I thought. I'm dying to visit Madrid, a city I have never been to before, and making the Sony Ericsson Championships is a double bonus for me. It's going to be great!"
Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships standing: No.5
2007 Win-Loss Record: 35-9
2007 Highlights: Won (2): Australian Open, Miami; R-Up (1): Moscow
Championships history: Fourth appearance at this event (seventh time to qualify); captured the title once, in 2001 (d. Farina Elia, Henin and Testud en route to final; w/o vs. Davenport); in 2002 and 2004 finished runner-up; despite qualifying, did not compete in 1999 (severe influenza), 2000 (inflammation of small bone in base of left foot) and 2003 (left knee quadriceps surgery)