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Serena Williams storms to eighth title of the year

ESPN staff
August 11, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Williams shows off her eighth title of the season © Getty Images
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Serena Williams won the Rogers Cup for the third time, routing unseeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-0 in Sunday's final.

Williams, ranked No. 1, captured her eighth WTA title of the year and 54th of her career. All three of her Rogers Cup crowns have come in Toronto, the others in 2001 and 2011. Williams has lost only one match since March, a stunning early exit at Wimbledon.

She did not drop a set this week. The only time she was tested was in her semi-final against third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska.

Cirstea was appearing in her third WTA final and looking to build on her only title -- in 2008 at Tashkent. But despite this loss, the tournament proved a breakthrough. She ousted two former No. 1 players in Jelena Jankovic andCaroline Wozniacki and also defeated defending champion Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals and fourth-seeded Li Na in the semis.

Cirstea was unsteady from the opening game, double-faulting the first point and again at 30-40 to give Williams an early break. Williams broke again for 3-0 after Cirstea sent a backhand wide. That prompted a visit from her Australian coach, Darren Cahill.

The pep talk appeared to work momentarily. Cirstea won four straight points to break back and held serve at 3-2. But Williams quickly removed any chance of an upset, winning two straight games and acing a set point winner to make it 6-2.

With shouts of "Sorana" and "Serena" volleying around the stadium, splashes of Romania's blue, yellow and red could be seen dotting the Rexall Centre stands on a warm, sunny afternoon.

But Cirstea's contingent had even less to cheer for in the second set. Williams used her trademark power strokes to keep Cirstea running and ripped an ace to hold serve at 2-0. Cirstea, her head hanging low, again called for Cahill for motivation. But it didn't do much good. Williams eased through the final four games and wrapped up the match in just over an hour.

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