On an embarrassing afternoon for women's tennis, Serena Williams was virtually gifted her third Nasdaq-100 Open title in her first tournament back on the WTA Tour since winning Wimbledon eight months ago.
It was to Williams's credit that she was able to advance to the final after recovering from a knee operation. But, having arrived there, she had the good fortune to find that her fifth-seeded Russian opponent, Elena Dementieva, could not hold serve.
Williams won, 6-1 6-1, after 50 minutes, having lost her own serve in the opening game of the first set and when serving for the match at 5-0 in the second.
Dementieva, one of the most elegant of players, is capable of hitting impressive groundstrokes, but must sometimes wish she could receive serve in every game. Her service record for her six matches in the event was three aces and 57 double-faults. Surprisingly, Dementieva managed to defeat Venus Williams in the quarter-finals, catching the older Williams sister on a day when her serving was equally as bad.
On the eve of the final, Dementieva was asked how she would deter the defending champion. She said: "I think my serve is going to be too slow for her, so she's going to play three metres south from my second serve. It's going to be kind of a drop-shot for her." At the time, we thought she was joking. But it was not long before some spectators expressed their disappointment in her unforced errors, including nine double-faults, by whistling and jeering.
Dementieva's first-serve ratio was 51 per cent, and Williams did not have to wear what she calls her "Wonder Woman" outfit - white halter and hotpants - to prevail. It was the shortest final here since Martina Hingis swept past Monica Seles in 43 minutes to become the world No 1 in 1997.Reuse content