American superstar Serena Williams demolished Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1 in just 50 minutes to win the Brisbane International on Saturday.
Third-seeded Williams served notice that she will be the one to beat at this month’s Australian Open with a ruthless display against Pavlyuchenkova, the World No. 36.
She took control at 2-2 in the first set when she went on a run of seven straight games and never looked like losing against an increasingly demoralised opponent, who had no answer to Serena’s power and aggression.
Serena sent down nine aces and won 91 percent of her first serves, blasting 24 winners past Pavlyuchenkova, who looked shell-shocked at times with the pace of the American’s groundstrokes.
Defending champion Andy Murray was handed a berth in the final of the men’s event when Japan’s Kei Nishikori retired from their semifinal with a knee injury.
Murray had taken the first set 6-4 and was up 2-0 in the second when Nishikori, who had treatment on his knee at the end of the first set, decided he couldn’t continue and conceded the match. The 25-year-old Murray will now play Grigor Dimitrov in Sunday’s final.
Sania wins doubles
Meanwhile, India’s Sania Mirza was off to a winning start in 2013 when she combined with American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands to clinch a 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 win over Anna-Lena Groenfeld and Kveta Peschke in the Brisbane International women’s doubles final.
The pair looked good at the start of the first set when they took a comfortable 4-1 lead, only to concede five games in-a-row, to lose the set. However, Sania and Mattek stepped up their net-play, wrapping the second set to take the issue into a decider.
In the super tie-break, Sania and Mattek took a 9-5 lead before closing it out at 10-7 to emerge a deserving winner.
The results: At Brisbane (Brisbane International): Men: Semifinals: Grigor Dimitrov bt Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5); Andy Murray bt Kei Nishikori 6-4, 2-0 retired.
Women: Final: Serena Williams bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1.
Women’s doubles: Final: Sania Mirza & Bethanie Mattek-Sands bt Anna-Lena Groenfeld & Kveta Peschke 4-6, 6-4, 10-7.
At Auckland (WTA ASB Classic): Final: Agnieszka Radwanska bt Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 6-4.
At Doha (ATP Qatar Open): Semifinals: Nikolay Davydenko bt David Ferrer 6-2, 6-3.
At Shenzhen (WTA Shenzhen Open): Final: Li Na bt Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.