World No. 1 Serena Williams defended her title at the Internazionale BNL d’Italia, defeating an injured Sara Errani 6-3, 6-0.
Williams broke the Italian No. 1 in her first service game, but Errani broke back in the seventh, to the delight of the wildly partisan Rome crowd, who were hoping to have their first female champion since 1950. In the next game, Errani came up lame, and Serena got the break back. The Italian was taken off the court by the trainer for treatment. A short while later, she jogged out onto the court with her left thigh strapped, but Serena served the set out.
In the second set, it became clear that the injury was definitely impairing the Italian’s movement, and there was nothing to do but hang on for the sake of honor while the American served the set out, which she won at love. Serena’s celebration was subdued, given her injured opponent. Errani couldn’t contain her tears in her speech to her fans at the trophy presentation.
It ended up being a double disappointment for the Italians today, as Errani and her partner, Roberta Vinci, also of Italy, were forced to retire from the doubles final due to Errani’s injury, and the win went to Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik, 4-0 by retirement.
For Williams, this is her third title in the Italian capital, having won in 2002 and again last year. In both of those years, Serena went on to win the French Open, which begins next week, and where she will go in as the favorite.
Photo credit (Creative Commons License): Yann Caradec