Serena Williams demolishes Sara Errani to win Rome Masters title
Serena Williams celebrates with the trophy after winning the Rome Masters final against Sara Errani. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images
A measure of Serena Williams’ gathering awesomeness before the French Open could be gauged by another untroubled swagger in the Roman sun on Campo Centrale.
When she had produced the last of her heavyweight blows to win her 60th WTA title her tiny, limping adversary, Sara Errani, tears rolling down her cheeks, could do no more than acknowledge she had been in the presence of an irresistible force.
It was the manner as well as the scale of the American’s quick and bloodless victory – 6-3, 6-0 in 71 minutes – that left the impression she will again be difficult to stop at Roland Garros from Sunday. On the evidence of the Rome Masters and last week’s Madrid Open, there would not appear to be anyone operating at her level, apart from the Madrid winner Maria Sharapova, whom she mastered in last year’s French final – and the Russian went out of this tournament to Ana Ivanovic, whom Williamseventually overpowered in the semi-finals.
Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded No3, looked good until the quarter-finals, where Jelena Jankovic put her out in straight sets before losing to Errani. And the world No 2, Li Na, was below par losing to Errani in the last eight.
Elsewhere, there is little evidence of insurrection. Williams, who has now won this title three times, said to the crowd in Italian: “Thanks to my coach and my team for keeping my body together. I’m sorry for Sara – she didn’t deserve this, with the injury.” She was generously received.
Later she added: “I am like fine wine. I am getting better with age,” though she still has doubts about her fitness going into the French Open, because of a left thigh strain. “I feel better but I am not 100%. I am going on adrenaline at the moment, so I’ll take a couple of days off. I hope to win one more grand slam before I retire but I don’t want to look too far ahead. There are hundreds of players who want to do the same.”
Errani – straining against all odds to emulate her compatriot Raffaella Reggi, who lifted the trophy in 1985 – left the court for attention to her left thigh after 45 minutes. Trailing 3-5, she was powerless to stop Williams wrapping up the set after 50 minutes. And that was only four minutes longer than their last contest, when Williams obliterated her in the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year, dropping only a single game.
History did not beckon. Indeed, any bookmaker glancing at their shared past would have declared this a non-betting occasion: Errani had won only 23 games in six losing efforts against Williams, an average of about two per set.
Williams looked every inch the queen of her sport as she sat emotionless under an umbrella held over her head by an attendant during the injury break and her reign continued uninterrupted in the second set, which detained her a mere 21 minutes. Errani, dwarfed in every way, her thigh heavily strapped, was reduced to the role of hobbling target. It was impossible not to feel sorry for her, as well as those Italian supporters who had cheered her in vain all the way to inevitable defeat.
All the combatants had in common was the inconvenience of a thigh strain – the same injury that forced Williams to quit after three matches in Madrid but which did not appear to manifest itself in Rome. If she is fully fit, there will not be many betting against her to successfully defend her French title. Her 61st Tour championship would seem to be hers to lose.