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Tour report - Serena bounces back in Bastad

Serena Williams serves.
by Alexandra Willis
Monday 22 July 2013

There were titles over the weekend for Serena Williams, Ivo Karlovic, Fabio Fognini, and Yvonne Meusburger in the final summer events before the start of the US Open Series. 

What's the best way to overcome a disappointing loss? Winning. Three weeks after being ousted in surprising fashion from The Championships, Serena Williams picked up her 53rd career singles title, defeating Johanna Larsson 6-4, 6-1 to win the WTA event in Bastad, Sweden. With the US Open looming, many wondered why Williams would turn back to clay, but the world No.1 was clearly keen to get back onto the match court. 

"I had to kind of come back and do a little better," Williams said. "You just have to stay positive. I wasn't playing well at Wimbledon when I lost, so I thought, 'Okay, just remember what I did wrong there, and don't make the same mistake here.' I really wanted to do better here in Bastad this week." 

With the win, she equalled Monica Seles' total title haul of 53, ninth in the all-time list of WTA singles titles. Bizarrely, it was also Serena's first title at WTA International level, having never reached a final in five previous attempts on the WTA's second tier of tournaments. 

"It's been such a great experience here," Williams said of the tournament. "Everyone's been extremely accomodating. And when I wake up I see the ocean - it reminds me a little bit of home. I really miss being at home. I'm excited to go back. But it's just a really, really good feeling to have such a great city at your fingertips, and everything a player could possibly need is at your fingertips as well." 

The WTA's other title winner last week was Yvonne Meusburger, who surprised herself by winning her first WTA title at home in Bad Gastein. Meusburger defeated Andrea Hlavackova 7-5, 6-2 among the mountains, and as a result reached a a career-high ranking of world No.58. 

On the ATP World Tour, it was two titles in two weeks for Fabio Fognini, who saved three match points to beat Argentina's Federico Delbonis on Hamburg's clay, 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-2. 

"It's an amazing week," the Italian said. "I can't believe it right now. I just feel incredible, a real good sensation. I'm very happy.

"I was, I think, a little bit lucky. I was nervous. Today, I didn't play really good, but I fought hard. I think that was the key. Another trophy, that’s the important thing. I want to enjoy [this] as soon as possible. I fly to Umag tomorrow and have another chance to play."

Delbonis is a name to be remembered however, the world No.114 having out-played Roger Federer to beat the multi-Grand Slam champion in the semi-finals.  

"To lose the final with match points is disappointing," Delbonis said. "But at the end of the week, the result of all the week is positive or me. It's my first final. I beat Roger [Federer] yesterday."

Meanwhile Ivo Karlovic cemented his return from a two-month absence caused by viral meningitis by claiming the title in Bogota, Colombia, defeating Alejandro Falla 6-3, 7-6(4).

"I feel only happiness that after all these injuries and illnesses I was able to be back here," Karlovic said. 

There was good news also for Britain's Ross Hutchins, who revealed on Twitter that he is in remission from Hodgkin's Lymphoma. 

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