As if Williams’ 61 63 quarterfinal victory over World No.2 Maria Sharapova wasn’t impressive enough, her dismantling of Azarenka in the final was her 13th career win over a World No.1, tying Venus Williams for most victories over a World No.1 among active players; she also ties Kim Clijsters for second-most WTA titles among active players with 41 (Venus Williams has 43). Perhaps the biggest message: Williams is now 13-0 on clay this year, having gone 5-0 to win Charleston, 2-0 to help the US back into the World Group of Fed Cup, and now 6-0 to win Madrid. And along the way she has only lost one set, to Caroline Wozniacki in the third round this week (winning that, 16 63 62).
“I absolutely love clay. I grew up on clay – I played on hardcourt until I was 11, then until I turned 16 I only played on clay courts,” Williams said. “I actually love the clay but my results haven’t been stellar. I have won the French Open and lots of clay court tournaments, though. It’s really a myth about me not liking clay. I like it more than grass, which is weird. Hopefully I can start doing better.” Williams is now 7-1 in her head-to-head series with Azarenka. With the title run, the former No.1 keeps her climb back up the rankings going, No.9 to No.6.
“I don’t play to be No.2. I don’t think Victoria plays to be No.2, nor does Maria,” Williams said. “We all play to be the best. We’re all out here to do the best we can do, and if that’s No.1, that’s my ultimate goal. A lot of people feel that way.”