February 24, 2014
Washington Kastles star Venus Williams made a statement to her WTA competitors in Dubai, tearing through the draw to win the WTA Premier event without losing a set.
Leading into the final, Williams posted her first win in three meetings over Elena Vesnina, avenged her Auckland final loss to Ana Ivanovic, defeated Flavia Pennetta and dismissed former champion Caroline Wozniacki. Williams then denied Alize Cornet, who a day earlier stunned the American’s younger sister Serena, by overwhelming the Frenchwoman 6-3, 6-0 for her 45th tour-level crown and first since 2012.
“I'm not looking to do anything I did in the past, because I already did that,” reflected Williams. “I'm looking to improve and be a better, smarter Venus. This week is obviously a step - every week for me is a step.”
Anastasia Rodionova and Alla Kudryavtseva, who played for the Kastles in 2013, maintained their momentum by upending Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 6-2, 5-7, 10-8 in the Dubai doubles final. It marked the pair’s second title of the season, adding to their success in Brisbane.
Bob and Mike Bryan (San Diego Aviators) picked up their first trophy of the season by triumphing at the ATP World Tour 250 event in Delray Beach. The top seeds dismissed Frantisek Cermak and Mikhail Elgin 6-2, 6-3 for their third event title.
“We're very happy to kick start the year here in Delray [and] get that first [title] of the season,” said Bob Bryan. “We've always had good Australias; it's always been an incredible start of the year there. This was the first year we came back with nothing to show for our hard work in the off-season. Now it's starting to pay off a little bit, we're starting to hit our stride.”