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ATP to give £383,000 to help bushfire appeal in Australia

  • Posted: Jan 12, 2020

The ATP will donate £383,000 to the bushfire relief efforts in Australia.

This gesture on behalf of the governing body of men’s tennis was announced by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal after the ATP Cup team final in Sydney.

The money will be split between the WWF Australian Wildlife and the Nature Recovery Fund.

“This donation is on behalf of all the players,” said Djokovic, president of the ATP Player Council. “Our thoughts and prayers go to all those affected.”

Djokovic inspired Serbia to victory in the inaugural competition as his singles win over Nadal helped his country beat Spain 2-1.

He added: “Australia is such an amazing and welcoming country and it feels like home for us at the start of each season. To see the damage to wildlife and nature has been devastating.”

Several players have already pledged personal donations towards relief efforts as part of the #Aces4BushRelief campaign.

Serena Williams donated her earnings after winning the Auckland Classic, and she along with Nadal, Roger Federer and local favourite Nick Kyrgios will take part in the Rally4Relief exhibition in Melbourne on Wednesday to raise money before the Australian Open.

Kyrgios had already announced that he would donate 200 Australian dollars (£106) for every ace he hits this season.

Former Australia cricketer Shane Warne raised over £500,000 by auctioning off his ‘baggy green’ cap, and he and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting will captain opposing sides in a special Twenty20 game on 8 February.

And current Australia spinner Nathan Lyon donated £5,300 for the 10 wickets he took in Australia’s win over New Zealand in the recent Sydney Test match.

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Djere Digs Deep For Adelaide Victory

  • Posted: Jan 12, 2020

Djere Digs Deep For Adelaide Victory

Fritz, Opelka beaten in first round

On the opening day of the inaugural Adelaide International, fans were treated to a three-set thriller on Centre Court as Laslo Djere defeated home favourite Alexei Popyrin 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4.

The 24-year-old recorded his second victory of the 2020 ATP Tour season after two hours and 22 minutes, improving his ATP Head2Head record against the Sydney native to 2-0. Djere arrived in Adelaide after a second-round loss to Pierre-Hugues Herbert last week at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open.

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After opening his 2020 campaign at the ATP Cup, Pablo Cuevas saved three match points to overcome eighth seed Reilly Opelka 5-7, 7-6(9), 7-6(2). The Uruguayan withstood 36 aces throughout the two-hour, 18-minute clash and will face Aljaz Bedene or Tommy Paul for a place in the quarter-finals.

Alexander Bublik also overcame seeded American opposition, beating fifth seed Taylor Fritz 6-4, 7-6(4). Bublik landed 17 aces and saved all five break points he faced.

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Djokovic beats Nadal to inspire Serbia to ATP Cup win

  • Posted: Jan 12, 2020

Novak Djokovic inspired Serbia to victory in the inaugural ATP Cup as his singles win over Rafael Nadal helped his country beat Spain 2-1 in Sydney.

World number two Djokovic, 32, defeated top-ranked Nadal, 33, 6-2 7-6 (7-4) to level the tie after Roberto Bautista Agut beat Dusan Lajovic 7-5 6-1.

Djokovic then partnered Viktor Troicki to a 6-3 6-4 doubles win over Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez.

“I will remember this experience for the rest of my life,” Djokovic said.

“It’s definitely one of the nicest moments of my career.”

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Djokovic and Troicki quickly went 3-1 down in the first set of the doubles but the animated Serbian pair won the next five games to take the opening set.

They broke early in the second and maintained their momentum, with Djokovic serving out the match at his first attempt.

Djokovic, the reigning Australian Open champion, did not lose a match during the week-long tournament, claiming six singles and two doubles wins.

“It was a huge team effort,” Djokovic said.

“I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to have an amazing career but playing for your country, with some of my best friends, you can’t match that.”

The Australian Open begins on 20 January, eight days after the ATP Cup finishes.

Nadal frustrated by crowd

Nadal has now lost his past nine hard court matches against Djokovic, who was barely troubled in the opening set.

The Spaniard was broken in the first game of the match and was visibly frustrated by the pro-Serbian crowd, giving them a sarcastic thumbs-up as he dropped serve again.

Djokovic served out the opening set but was given a tougher test in the second, saving five break points in one 10-minute service game.

Nadal saved two break points with consecutive backhand winners but Djokovic took control of the tie-break, closing out victory as Nadal sent a forehand into the net.

“The respect for both players should be there,” Nadal said of the crowd afterwards.

Nadal won the Davis Cup with Spain six weeks ago, which is a similar format to the ATP Cup, and he believes the two events are too close together.

“I think that [scheduling] is a confusion for the spectators, and we need to be clear in our sport,” he added.

“And for the health of our sport and for the benefit of our sport, in my opinion, it is mandatory that we fix it.”

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ATP Announces AU$ 725,000 Donation From Players In Aid Of Australian Bushfire Relief Efforts

  • Posted: Jan 12, 2020

ATP Announces AU$ 725,000 Donation From Players In Aid Of Australian Bushfire Relief Efforts

Donation announced following the final of the inaugural ATP Cup

Following the final of the inaugural ATP Cup on Sunday, the ATP has announced a AU$ 725,000 (US$ 500,000) donation from ATP players towards the WWF’s Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund as part of the bushfire relief efforts.

The donation from ATP players was revealed on court by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal during the ATP Cup final trophy ceremony in Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena, marking the latest fundraising initiative that has seen tennis come together through a sport-wide Aces for Bushfire Relief campaign launched at the start of the ATP Cup.

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “Australia plays host to the ATP Tour every January in such an incredible way, and more so than ever this year with the first edition of the ATP Cup. The devastation that we have seen across the country from the bushfires has been heart-breaking. The whole sport has come together to lend its support, especially the players who feel such a strong affinity with this great country. On behalf of all the players, the ATP is pleased to be able to play its part and we will continue to work with Tennis Australia on upcoming initiatives as the sport rallies together to support the relief efforts.”

Djokovic, President of the ATP Player Council, said: “Australia is such an amazing and welcoming country and it feels like home for us at the start of each season. To see the damage to wildlife and nature from the bushfires has been devastating. This donation with the ATP is on behalf of all the players and our thoughts and support go out to all those who have been affected.”

The #Aces4BushfireRelief campaign has seen many players pledge to make their own personal donations towards the disaster relief and recovery efforts, as well as raising awareness of the fundraising initiative through messages of support on social media.

Many of the ATP’s biggest stars, including Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios, will take part in an Australian Open Rally for Relief exhibition match at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday 15 January. All funds raised from AO Rally for Relief will be donated to the bushfire relief cause.

Donations to the Australian Red Cross bushfire disaster relief and recovery efforts can be made at, while donations to the WWF’s Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund can be made at


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Djokovic’s Double Duty Seals Serbia’s ATP Cup Triumph

  • Posted: Jan 12, 2020

Djokovic’s Double Duty Seals Serbia’s ATP Cup Triumph

Djokovic backs up his big singles win

Novak Djokovic was clutch for Serbia all ATP Cup, but no more so than on the final day of the inaugural tournament as the World No. 2 won two matches and clinched the team title for his country.

Djokovic teamed with countryman Viktor Troicki in a deciding doubles match to beat Pablo Carreno Busta/Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-3, 6-4, in a match that finished a little after 1 a.m. Monday in Sydney.

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Djokovic/Troicki fell behind a break and 1-3 in the first set but, behind a rowdy pro-Serbia crowd, reeled off seven consecutive games and Djokovic served it out, just as he did in singles earlier in the evening. Team Serbia rushed the court, jumping around with Djokovic and Troicki in celebration.

“I’ll remember this experience for the rest of my life as definitely one of the nicest moments in my career,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to have an amazing career the last 15 years, but playing for the team, playing for the country with some of my best friends for a long long time, you can’t match that. That’s just too special.”

The World No. 2 continued, elaborating on the support the team has received all tournament, during group play in Brisbane and at the Final Eight in Sydney. A total of 220,319 fans attended the 10-day tournament, and a good percentage of them were supporters of Djokovic and Serbia.

“I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like this on a tennis court… You carried us to victory and we owe you a big, big thanks,” Djokovic said. “We are part of an individual sport where we play by ourselves. But even when we were playing singles it never felt like it was only you out there. You always have a team in your corner giving you strength and focus. This was the highlight of the competition, along with the support of fans and the flags.”

Team Serbia celebrates after beating Team Spain 2-1 to win the <a href=''>ATP Cup</a>.

Troicki was similarly emotional about winning the team title with his boyhood friend. As an eight-year-old, Djokovic played his second-ever competitive match against Troicki, a 9-1 loss.

“I want to thank Novak for playing with me again. It was a great experience like always. I remember playing with him since we were nine, 10. To share such a moment on the court with him, I cannot describe it with words. As you said, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life,” Troicki said.

Djokovic forced the deciding doubles after beating Rafael Nadal 6-2, 7-6(4). Nadal and Spain opted for the World No. 1 not to play doubles. 

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“I have been playing a lot of tennis the last couple of days. My teammates have been playing great yesterday. My level of energy is a little bit lower than usual, because I played long yesterday, very long before yesterday, very long in [Perth] the last day,” Nadal said.

“So it’s a team decision, and we believe in our team. That’s why we had success in the past, because we were able to give the confidence to the rest of the players, and we give the confidence to Feliciano and Pablo.”

Earlier, Roberto Bautista Agut improved to 6-0 at the ATP Cup and gave Spain a 1-0 lead with a 7-5, 6-1 win against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.

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Djokovic Beats Nadal, Forces Deciding Doubles In Sydney

  • Posted: Jan 12, 2020

Djokovic Beats Nadal, Forces Deciding Doubles In Sydney

Djokovic evens tie at 1-1

Novak Djokovic prolonged his mastery over World No. 1 Rafael Nadal on hard courts, and Serbia and Spain will play a deciding doubles match for the ATP Cup title on Sunday night in Sydney.

Djokovic won his ninth consecutive match on hard courts against Nadal and extended his set win streak to 19 (since 2013 US Open final) against the World No. 1 with the 6-2, 7-6(4) win. The World No. 2 now leads Open Era’s most prolific head-to-head series 29-26.

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Djokovic dominated from the start, putting Nadal on the defensive with his return and especially during backhand-to-forehand rallies as Nadal struggled to keep pace. The Spaniard’s backhand slice did little to rattle Djokovic, and when the Spaniard was settled in on defence, Djokovic would deliver a drop shot that would leave the World No. 1 reeling.

Djokovic broke in the opening and fifth games to roars from the pro-Serbia crowd. The trumpets blared and flags waved before the World No. 2 served the set out to love behind four consecutive aces.

Nadal saw his first five break points of the match in the sixth game of the second set, as Djokovic served 2-3, 0/40. But as the outnumbered yet vocal Spanish fans screamed, Djokovic erased them all, the final on a backhand-to-forehand rally that ended with a Nadal forehand shank.

Ser-bi-a! Ser-bi-a! Ser-bi-a!” the fans roared.

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Bautista Agut Gives Spain Early ATP Cup Final Lead

All ATP Cup, in Brisbane and Sydney, Djokovic and his teammates have been bolstered by the thousands of Serbians living in Australia and rooting for their home country. The marquee matchup of the final was their best showing yet.

In the second set, Nadal hit over his backhand more frequently and held throughout, including at 5-5 when he erased two break points.

But in the tie-break, Djokovic returned to his old reliable, blasting backhands to Nadal’s forehand corner for a mini-break at 4/4 and served it out two points later.

The two are expected to return to the court now for the deciding doubles. Serbia is expected to play Djokovic/Troicki against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta/Nadal.

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10 Takeaways From The Inaugural ATP Cup

  • Posted: Jan 12, 2020

10 Takeaways From The Inaugural ATP Cup

Learn some of the most notable takeaways from the 24-country competition’s first edition

The inaugural ATP Cup has come and gone. 220,319 fans streamed through the gates in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney for the first edition of this 24-country event. looks at the 10 takeaways from the first ATP Cup:

1. Team Serbia Clinches Inaugural ATP Cup
There were throngs of Serbian fans who turned out to support Team Serbia throughout the first edition of the ATP Cup, from Brisbane — where the country won Group A — to Sydney, home of the Final Eight. The Serbian players certainly did not let them down.

In thrilling fashion, Serbia defeated Spain 2-1 to claim the trophy, with World No. 2 Novak Djokovic beating World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the No. 1 singles match, before returning to Ken Rosewall Arena to partner Viktor Troicki past Pablo Carreno Busta/Feliciano Lopez for the trophy.

“I’ll remember this experience for the rest of my life as definitely one of the nicest moments in my career,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to have an amazing career the past 15 years, but playing for the team, playing for the country with some of my best friends for a long long time, you can’t match that. That’s just too special.”


2. Spaniards Shine, Fall Just Short Of Title
Rafael Nadal and the rest of Team Spain battled hard from Perth to Sydney, working their way to the deciding doubles in the championship tie. But the Spaniards fell just short against an inspired Serbian side.

The Spaniards had their backs against the wall in the quarter-finals against Belgium, with Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen taking the first set of a deciding doubles match. But the entire team showed relentless determination, helping them advance to the championship. Roberto Bautista Agut, who went 6-0 at the first ATP Cup, gave his country a point against Serbia. But it was not enough.

“I think is a great competition. Excited to be part of it. Excited to represent my country,” Nadal said. “I enjoyed a lot to share all this week and a half with my friends on the team. The organisation have been fantastic, honestly.”

3. Australians Thrill Home Crowds En Route To Semis
The Australians needed a wild card at the first entry deadline to ensure their spot in the inaugural ATP Cup. But the home favourites proved that they were plenty deserving of their place, advancing to the semi-finals.

In the Final Eight, Australia played in one of the most memorable ties of the event, defeating Great Britain 2-1 when Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios saved four match points in the deciding doubles to stun doubles stars Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury.

De Minaur was close to surprising World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, which would have forced another deciding doubles thriller. But despite the Aussie’s tremendous effort, backed by a raucous crowd, Spain ended the home side’s run.

4. Russians Show Why They Will Be A Force For Years To Come
Russia’s top two singles players, Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov, are both 23. So making the semi-finals shows that their country will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

Khachanov and Medvedev led Russia through Group D play with the loss of just one match across three ties. And with a dangerous Argentina team waiting in the Final Eight, they raised their levels even higher to earn a 3-0 sweep and make the semi-finals. Medvedev played Djokovic in one of the matches of the tournament, but fell just short of sending his country to a deciding doubles.

5. Video Review Gives Players New Look
From confirming whether a player touched the ball with his finger before hitting a no-look spinorama lob to checking whether a player hit a ‘foul shot’ by making contact with a volley on the opposite side of the net, there was plenty of use of Video Review at the ATP Cup.

Team Moldova challenged a foot fault that was called on Alexander Cozbinov during his doubles match alongside Radu Albot against Great Britain. The chair umpire performs the review using a screen and audio attached to their chair, so Albot climbed up the chair to check it out himself.

“I think it’s really cool,” Albot said of Video Review. “I also saw… with Novak when he put the racquet over the net. That was interesting because if there is no VR [Video Review], you cannot see, it is so quick.”

6. Team Zones A Hit
One of the players’ favourite innovations at this 24-country event was the Team Zone. Instead of sitting on a bench next to the umpire’s chair, players had a zone in the back corner of the court where they were able to confer with their country’s captain, personal coach, countrymen and support staff.

On many occasions, players scheduled to compete later in the day would first show their support for their countrymen. The same held true for those who had already competed, rushing back to the Team Zone as close to when their match ended as possible.

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“In ATP tournaments normally you cannot even communicate with your coach, you’re by yourself and thinking by yourself,” said Russian No. 2 Karen Khachanov. “You’re trying to analyse what’s going on and here you have your whole team behind you, your personal coach, captain. The stats enable you to talk about every point and I think it’s a really good addition.”

Anyone in the Team Zone was able to use a special tablet to analyse live stats and other information, helping them to potentially change tactics mid-match.

Zimonjic, Djokovic

7. Strategy Rooms Give Countries New Prep Opportunity
As Austrian captain Thomas Muster said, “once you have the technology, you must use it.” That’s what players, captains and coaches alike did at the ATP Cup. Each city — Brisbane, Perth and Sydney — had a Strategy Room, where tournament staff helped facilitate various statistics and insights into matches for visitors that could make a difference in critical moments throughout this event.

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In some cases, players stopped into the Strategy Room for a quick look at information about their next opponent, while some countries held team meetings in the room.

“You just tell the players, ‘Look, these are the things that I think you should work on. You’re in the wrong position here, you should be further in or you should be doing this or that,’” Muster said. “Most of the time they come and say, ‘Oh, geez, I didn’t know I’m doing this. Now I can see much clearer.'”

8. Legendary Captains Embrace New Role
Each country at the ATP Cup is led by a captain, and at the inaugural event, there were plenty of tennis legends who led their countries in pursuit of the trophy. Four former World No. 1s who took the role of captain were Boris Becker (Germany), Lleyton Hewitt (Australia), Thomas Muster (Austria) and Marat Safin (Russia). Other notable captains included 2004 Roland Garros champion Gaston Gaudio, Tim Henman and playing captains Grigor Dimitrov, Gilles Simon and Steve Darcis.

“[The] event is [a] very interesting tournament for the beginning of the year, so they can play a lot of matches. They are all friends on the team, so [it] gives [a] comfortable atmosphere inside the team. They practise together. The format is great,” Safin said. “For me, I learned a lot. Experience-wise it’s amazing. It’s very interesting, very interesting for me, too.”

9. Anyone Can Rise To The Occasion
In the ATP Cup, some countries may not have a No. 2 singles player who is near the top of the FedEx ATP Rankings, but this competition provides an opportunity for those men to show the world their game on a tremendous global stage.

Singles winners during this event include World No. 417 Dimitar Kuzmanov, No. 448 Kacper Zuk and No. 678 Aleksandre Metreveli. Kuzmanov was victorious twice.

“I knew I had the qualities to be here. It was just a matter of time and about grabbing my chance, taking my chance. I received it when we were announced to take part of this tournament, and I was really looking forward to show what I can and show I have been practising for all my life,” Kuzmanov said. “I’m happy that I’m grabbing my chances and showing what I can.”

10. For The Love Of Country
The players at the ATP Cup were first and foremost representing their country.. Throughout the tournament, fans flocked from all around the world, waving their country’s flag, sporting its colours and even parading around with instruments to create a special atmosphere for the competitors.

Argentina is more than 11,000 kilometres away, yet the Argentine players couldn’t tell the difference in Sydney, either during the group stages or the Final Eight.

“[It] was an unbelievable feeling. It’s like we are playing at home,” said Guido Pella. “So it’s amazing to step into the court and feel that, because we not only play for our country, it’s like we play for everyone. This is a very nice feeling.”

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Bautista Agut Gives Spain Early ATP Cup Final Lead

  • Posted: Jan 12, 2020

Bautista Agut Gives Spain Early ATP Cup Final Lead

Spaniard goes 6-0 at the inaugural event

Roberto The Reliable. Roberto Bautista Agut won his sixth consecutive match at the ATP Cup on Sunday, placing Spain one match victory away from the inaugural ATP Cup title in Sydney.

The World No. 10 and Spain’s No. 2 beat Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-1, breaking the Serbian five times and proving too steady from the baseline for the 29-year-old, who had been 4-1 at the season’s first tournament.

Dusan is playing at a great level but I played a very good match from my side,” Bautista Agut said. “He was aggressive and stepping inside the baseline to manage the game, but I believed I could change it and I played a great end of the first set and a great second set.”

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Bautista Agut broke and jumped to a 3-0 lead, baiting Lajovic in side-to-side rallies. But the Serbian began injecting more pace into his forehand and dictating whenever the opportunity arose. He broke back in the fifth game, cuing the trumpets and flag waving from the overwhelmingly pro-Serbia crowd.

Bautista Agut, however, broke Lajovic in the 12th game to claim the opener. The Spaniard’s consistent deep groundstrokes and inside-out forehand troubled Lajovic as the Serbian sliced a backhand into net on set point.

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The Spaniard broke three more times in the second set to improve to 4-0 against Lajovic.

It’s been a great time. We enjoy a lot playing ATP Cup, being together, practising together, spending time as a team. We have a good chemistry and hopefully we can keep it like this for many more years,” he said.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic will play next for an Open Era record 55th time. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 28-26 (19-7 on hard courts).

The Serbian is 8-0 in matches and 17-0 in sets against Nadal on hard courts since the 2013 US Open final. Twelve months ago, at the 2019 Australian Open, Djokovic gave Nadal his only straight-sets loss in 27 Grand Slam finals.

We are about to see one of the best matches we can see on a tennis court. Two of the best players in history. I will support Rafa as strong as I can and I believe he can make it and we can get the title here,” Bautista Agut said.

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Serena Williams wins Auckland Classic for first title in three years

  • Posted: Jan 12, 2020

Serena Williams won her first title in three years and first since becoming a mother with victory over Jessica Pegula at the Auckland Classic.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion beat her fellow American 6-3 6-4.

It is the 38-year-old’s first singles title since she won the Australian Open in 2017 and her 73rd WTA title overall.

Williams, in her fourth decade on the WTA Tour, lost the Wimbledon and US Open finals in 2018 and 2019 and retired from the 2019 Rogers Cup final.

She said after her victory that she would donate her prize money in Auckland and a dress she had worn to the Australian bushfire appeal.

“I have been playing for so long and been through so much and I’m happy to be doing something I love,” Williams said.

“I feel fortunate and blessed to be out here and to be healthy and to play.”

The Australian Open begins on 20 January, with Williams bidding to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.

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Williams won her first WTA title in February 1999, when she beat France’s Amelie Mauresmo on carpet at the Open Gaz de France.

She made a slow start in Auckland, with Pegula taking a 3-1 lead in the first set, before recovering to win the next five games and close out the opening set.

Williams broke the unseeded Pegula’s serve early in the second set and converted her fourth match point to ensure victory.

She celebrated on court with her daughter, Olympia, with whom she was eight weeks pregnant when she won her last Grand Slam title in Melbourne.

She will be in action again later on Sunday alongside Caroline Wozniacki when they play Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend in the doubles final.

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