Serena Williams picks up first title of 2014 in Brisbane

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Brisbane, Australia (4E Sports) – World No. 1 Serena Williams picked up where she left off last year, winning her first trophy of 2014 after beating No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, 6-4, 7-5, Saturday at Brisbane International.

With the victory, Williams now has 58 WTA titles to her name but remained in seventh place on the all-time leaders for WTA titles.

Williams trails Martina Navratilova (167), Chris Evert (154), Steffi Graf (107), Margaret Court (92), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (68) and Billie Jean King (67).

Williams will now go into the Australian Open carrying the momentum of her 22-match wining streak since falling to Azarenka in the finals at Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, Li Na scored the first successful WTA title defense of her career, edging Peng Shuai, 6-4, 7-5, in an all-Chinese final at the Shenzhen Open.

Li collected the eighth WTA title of her career, and first since winning this same tournament last year.

In Auckland, New Zealand, Ana Ivanovic bagged her first WTA title in more than two years after beating Venus Williams, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, in a battle between former World No.1s at the ASB Classic.

On the men’s side, No. 1 Rafael Nadal opened his 2014 campaign with bang, winning his 61st career ATP Tour title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.

The Spaniard defeated Gael Monfils, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, for his 61st title, passing Andre Agassi for sole ownership of the eighth spot in the list of most Open Era crowns on the ATP World Tour.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt will renew their long-standing rivalry in the final of the Brisbane International.

Federer defeated Jeremy Chardy, 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3, after Hewitt’s 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 victory over World No. 17 Kei Nishikori to seal their title clash.

In India, world No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka and Edouard Roger-Vasselin will play for the Aircel Chennai Open title Sunday.

Top seed Wawrinka was leading Vasek Pospisil, 6-4, 5-5, on Saturday when the fifth seed retired due to a back injury after one hour and 51 minutes of play.

Roger-Vasselin, for his part, defeated sixth seed Marcel Granollers of Spain, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, in just over two hours for a place in his second championship match.

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