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Women's tennis Serena donates ASB Classic winnings to wildfire victims

SERENA WILLIAMS broke a three-year title drought when she beat compatriot Jessica Pegula 6-3 6-4 yesterday to win the singles final at the ASB Classic.

Williams hadn’t won a title since the Australian Open singles in January 2017, and not since she became a mother to her daughter Olympia, who was court-side to see the victory.

The 23-time major winner donated her $43,000 (£32,490) winner’s cheque to the fundraising appeal for victims of Australian wildfires, joining many other tennis stars such as Ash Barty, Nick Kygrios, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova, who have pledged money to the already months-long fire emergency there.

Williams was under pressure at first against the 25-year-old Pegula, playing in her third WTA final, but asserted herself more as the match went on to claim her 73rd win in 98 finals and to add her name to a trophy won by her sister Venus in 2015.

“It feels good. It’s been a long time,” Williams said. “I think you can see the relief on my face.

“I played an incredible opponent today in Jessica and, honestly, it was a great match and I couldn’t have played anyone better in the final.”

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