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Williams beats Kerber to win WTA Stanford title

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

STANFORD, United States - World number one Serena Williams climbed out of an early hole to beat third-seeded German Angelique Kerber 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 to win the WTA Stanford title.

The top-seeded American, playing her first tournament since a disappointing Wimbledon campaign in which she was slowed by a virus, got her hardcourt build-up to the US Open off to a good start and will try to carry the momentum into next week's tournament at Montreal.

Williams notched her fourth title of 2014, after triumphs in Brisbane, Miami and Rome.

But the 17-time Grand Slam champion has struggled in majors this year, failing to make it past the fourth round in the Australian Open, French Open or Wimbledon.

She'll have her last chance of the year to add another major title to her resume at the US Open, which starts at Flushing Meadows on August 25.

Meanwhile Wimbledon semi-finalist Milos Raonic has captured his sixth ATP title at the Washington Open, defeating Vasek Pospisil 6-1 6-4 in the tour's first all-Canadian final.

"I couldn't have asked for a better way to lead into my most important part of the year," Raonic said.

"I'm fortunate to have played so well at the starting stages. It's tough after a few weeks away."

Raonic, who said he was "far ahead" of where he hoped to be in US Open preparations, had not won an ATP crown since last September at Bangkok and had not reached a final since losing to Juan Martin del Potro last October in Tokyo.

Pospisil, coming off a Wimbledon men's doubles title alongside American Jack sock, played in his first ATP final after upsetting Czech top seed Tomas Berdych in the third round and playing four sets Saturday after completing a rain-halted quarter-final and beating Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals.

"He came out strong. He caught me off guard. He played so strong," Pospisil said.

"I wasn't 100 per cent but it wouldn't have made much difference."

In only the second ATP final between players born in the 1990s, 23-year-old Raonic ripped through the first set against 24-year-old Pospisil in just 29 minutes, breaking three times and dropping only four points on his serve.

"I would never imagine starting off that well and I was fortunate enough to do so," Raonic said.

Raonic took the lone break of the second set in the final game, swatting a crosscourt backhand winner past his countryman to end matters after 67 minutes.

"I didn't think I played bad. Milos played well," Pospisil said.

"I didn't get much sleep last night either."

Raonic, who won his only prior match with Pospisil in last year's Montreal semi-finals, will match his career high of sixth in next week's world rankings.

Pospisil could have jumped past his career-high ranking of 25th with a win, but will still rise from 36th into the top 30 as both head for home soil in the ATP Toronto event.

"We're both very excited to go there and play in front of the home crowd," Pospisil said.

Asked about their time as pre-teen rivals, Raonic said, "Vasek won every time" and Pospisil knew his winning score of their first meeting, 7-6 6-4.

"I always knew Milos would get there when I was 15, the way he was serving and the potential he had," Pospisil said.

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