Serena Williams has her first WTA title as a mother, overpowering Jessica Pegula in the Auckland Classic final with a performance showing her readiness to contend again at the Australian Open.
Williams‘ success means she has won a title in four different decades, and for the first time, her two-year-old was in the audience to watch her lift a trophy.
Draped in a korowai for winning the tournament and holding her daughter in one arm and the trophy in another, Williams beamed.
“I’m a little biased but she’s so cute,” Williams said.
Williams also announced she will donate her US$43,000 (A$62,300) winner’s cheque towards Australian bushfires relief.
Serena Williams celebrates first title win in three years after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia and donates her $43,000 prize to bushfire appeal as Trump congratulates her. Williams is seen above celebrating her victory in the final in Auckland on Sunday pic.twitter.com/yTgAEzQOo1
— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) January 13, 2020
While the 73rd title of Williams‘ career is unlikely to feature in any career highlights, it is undoubtedly significant.
In defeating Pegula, Williams put to bed a five-final losing streak since her last title, the 2017 Australian Open.
That run includes four defeats in grand slam finals – twice at Wimbledon and the US Open.
The New Zealand win also means, for the first time, the 23-time major winner will arrive at Melbourne Park with a title already in the bag for the year.
How Serena Williams celebrates winning the ASB Classic after everyone has left. pic.twitter.com/swyJX8IG9R
— David Long (@davidlongffx) January 12, 2020
Given her hardcourt form and record at Melbourne Park, where she is a seven-time champion, Williams might never get a better opportunity to win a coveted 24th grand slam than this month.
Another major for the legendary American would see her match the record held by Australian great Margaret Court.
Williams‘ successful week in Auckland also included a 43-minute beatdown of world No.25 Amanda Anisimova in the semi-finals, and defeats of top-100 players Laura Siegemund, Christina McHale and Camila Giorgi.