World No. 1 Serena Williams and her list of accomplishments in tennis are well known. The reigning French Open champion owns a total of 52 career WTA titles to go along with her multiple Grand Slam victories. But there is one rare item missing from her stellar resume – a WTA International title.
Williams will hope to rectify that as she competes as the top seed in this week’s Collector Swedish Open in Bastad, Sweden. The American surprised many by announcing she would play at the event, but Williams is looking forward to the opportunity.
“I’ve never been to Bastad and I’m excited about it,” Williams said a few weeks ago about the event. I’ve heard it’s a great city. I’ve heard that it’s like Cannes, but in Sweden. I definitely need to experience that. I’m looking forward to getting back on the clay, then I’m going to hit the hardcourts in the U.S.”
To hear Williams say she is glad to be back on the dirt is to be expected. The American dominated the clay court season earlier in the year picking up titles in Charleston, Madrid and Rome before going on to win Roland Garros for the first time in over a decade. Williams saw her 34-match winning streak end at the hands of Germany’s Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon a few weeks ago. But Bastad could be the kickstart to yet another stretch of wins for the American as she enters the summer hard court season with Williams next scheduled to compete at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada.
But to do that Williams will have to overcome her poor record in International tier events where she has never reached even the finals in five previous tournaments entered. Her best result was a semifinal showing in 2006 at Cincinnati where she lost to Russia’s Vera Zvonareva. Williams’ last appearance at an International event was in Marbella back in 2009. In that tournament, she crashed out in the first round at the hands of Klara Zakopalova.
Romania’s Simona Halep, fresh off winning her third title this year in Budapest last week, is entered into Bastad as the No. 2 seed. Zakopalova is the No. 3 seed followed by Tsvetana Pironkova as the No. 4 seed.
Virginie Razzano of France, who upset Williams at Roland Garros last year, is also in the draw along with veteran Flavia Pennetta of Italy.
Williams will open her Bastad campaign versus unseeded Sesil Karatantcheva in round one. For the full draw, please click here: WTA Bastad Draw