CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — What a week for the Williams sisters.
Serena gained a title, Venus found a renewed belief in her game and both showed a calm confidence at the Family Circle Cup born of perspective and enduring difficult times.
Serena capped a dominant week with a powerful performance in the finals Sunday, defeating Lucie Safarova 6-0, 6-1 to win the championship. It was Serena Williams’ 40th career tournament title and her first win on clay since taking this event in 2008.
“It all came together a little bit,” Serena Williams said. “So hopefully I can improve on this and just use it as one block of building.”
Sister Venus has similar hopes. The 31-year-old star and seven-time grand slam winner was playing just her second tournament since an autoimmune disease — Sjogren’s syndrome — kept her sidelined for more than six months. Venus Williams reached the quarterfinals in her return at the Sony Ericsson Open and did the same here, showing off some solid tennis of her own in her first clay-court event in two years. Venus nearly made it to the semifinals, missing out on her first matchup with Serena since 2009 when Samantha Stosur rallied to win.
Then Serena got a bit of sisterly revenge, ousting Stosur in dominating 6-1, 6-1 fashion.
Still, Venus’ effort moved her up about 60 spots in the rankings from where she started last month at 134th in the world. “I’ve never been so happy to be ranked 70,” Venus said with a smile.
It was that sort of tournament for the Williamses, who both showed an easy grace throughout the Family Circle.
Serena cracked herself up plenty after matches, joking about having the game to defeat friend Andy Roddick or having her dogs pop out in the media room after beating Safarova.
“I hated seeing her in here,” Serena said of her dog, Jackie. “That’s my baby girl, though.”
Serena, 30, said she’s got plenty on her plate off the court which keeps her mind free for tennis when it’s time to compete. Williams spoke of re-launching her clothing line on a TV shopping network and papers she’s got due for school that she hasn’t done.
She’s even thought of moving to Paris, which she’s said several times is her favorite city.
“Yeah, I was thinking about it and I told my mom the other day, how would she feel if I moved to Paris,” Serena said. “I didn’t tell my dad, though.”
Venus, 31, spent more time discussing her changed attitude about tennis than about what strokes she needed to improve.
“I think a lot of people go into matches and they’re worried about their game,” Venus Williams said. “I don’t worry about that anymore, so my priorities are completely different.”
Williams was honored to help celebrate the legacy of women’s tennis at the Family Circle. She took part in a gala dinner Friday night in honor of the sport’s “Original 9” players led by Billie Jean King who started the women’s pro tour in 1970. Three years later, the WTA was founded and the Family Circle began. “So I feel grateful to have this job,” Venus said with a nod to the founders.
There was a time when about the only priority for both sisters was coming out on top. The two have combined for 20 grand slam titles — Serena has 13, Venus seven — and their matchups were can’t-miss affairs for the sport. During one stretch in 2002 and 2003, Serena won five grand slam championships and beat Venus in the finals of each.
Venus has had her wins over Serena, too, coming out on top over her younger sister in the 2001 U.S. Open and the 2006 Wimbledon championships. These days, the two seem content with their games and places in the sport.
They tried to stoke up some fire for the potential semifinal meeting, but none of it got very far. Serena was more pointed than Venus about going after the French Open title — only one of Serena’s major championships came at Roland Garros — and how the Family Circle win was a great starting point.
“I’m just focused on the moment,” she said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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