Serena Williams (Photo: Mike Ehrman/GettyImages via CNN)
(CNN) – Defending champion Serena Williams edged towards another milestone with
the 49th WTA Tour title of her career on Sunday, coming from behind to beat Jelena
Jankovic in the final of the Family Circle Cup in South Carolina.
The world No. 1, who is seeking to become only the 10th woman to have reached a half-
century, triumphed for the third time on the green clay at Charleston as she won 12 of the
last 14 games.
The American, who had a similar run in vanquishing c to claim a record
sixth Miami title last weekend, posted a 3-6 6-0 6-2 victory in just under two hours.
Jankovic, herself former top-ranked player but 18th going into this event, had hopes
she might repeat her 2008 Rome win on red clay over Williams as she won a 45-minute
But, after an argument over the Serbian apparently trying to take her serve too quickly,
the 15-time grand slam champion stepped up a gear to control the match.
“I felt so close in that first set. I felt like I could have been up 3-0,” said Williams, the
only woman to have won more than $40 million in prize money.
“She was playing really, really well, but it was just a shot here, a shot there, and she
played really well in the big points. And I had so many opportunities that I missed. She
took advantage of that, and she went on to glory in that first set.
“After that I just got really relaxed and was like, ‘Serena, you have to chill out and not
get crazy and if you win, great. If not, you’re trying. Just do the best you can.’”
She won despite double-faulting on her first match point and hitting the net with a
forehand on her second, but still managed 27 winners against 13 unforced errors in those
last two sets, having been 12-123 in the first.
The 31-year-old, who beat older sister Venus in Saturday’s semifinals, took her career
record to Jankovic to 6-4 and extended her record to 75-4 since the start of the 2012 clay
season a year ago.
Jankovic had won 14 of her last 16 matches, reaching the semis in Miami and winning
the 13th title of her career in Colombia.
“I thought I played pretty well in that first set – I was holding my serve and then waiting
for my chance to break,” Jankovic said.
“In the second set I had 40-15 in that first game and then again in another couple of
games I had 40-15, 40-0. I should have focused and gotten those games.”