Serene progress to fifth Miami title shows Williams is focused again

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The Independent Online

Serena Williams once fancied herself an actress or fashion designer and often seemed to be more focused on those aspirations than on her tennis. But after winning her fifth Sony Ericsson Open title with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Jelena Jankovic on Saturday, the world No 8 said that for the moment she is focusing on her sport.

"Right now, tennis is my No 1 goal," she said. "I actually haven't done anything in acting in a while because I have been so focused. You know, I wasn't making as much money [acting]. So I got to go back to the bread and butter. Like I always said, I love tennis. I just love the sport. More than anything I love winning."

Such rekindled desire to concentrate on tennis has delivered two titles this year, with the first coming in Bangalore in India last month. The victory in Miami equalled Steffi Graf's record of five titles.

"It should be named the Serena and Steffi stadium," Williams joked. "Steffi was my role model. To be compared as one of the best players of all time is nothing I would ever... it's such a good honour. My goal is just to do everything that I need to do on the court and do it right.

"I feel really comfortable here. I've been trying to feel this comfortable at the US Open and Wimbledon, which I'm bound to do."

Elsewhere, the Japanese player Kimiko Date, who once reached the top five in the world rankings, will return to the women's professional tour at the age of 37, after retiring from the game 12 years ago.

Date reached a career-high ranking of fourth in 1995 before quitting the WTA Tour the following year. Japan's most successful player, she abruptly abandoned the game after reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the last eight at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Date, who recently played an exhibition tournament with her former rivals Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova in Tokyo, won seven WTA titles. She was also a semi-finalist at the French and Australian Opens.