Serena Williams defends Miami title

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Serena Williams successfully defended her title at the WTA Sony Ericsson Open by beating fourth seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 in Saturday's final.

Updated: May 07, 2008 12:03 IST
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Former world No 1 Serena Williams successfully defended her title at the WTA Sony Ericsson Open by beating fourth seeded Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 in Saturday's final.

Williams captured her second title of the season, the 30th of her career and her fifth at this money-spinning event.

"I feel like all I want to do is play tennis, be the best and win," Williams said. "My whole life is dedicated to nothing but tennis. I've been working really hard."

The 26-year-old American cruised through the opening set in just 28 minutes as Jankovic hit just three winners and made 11 unforced errors. The Serbian, who has been battling a cold all week, found herself in trouble over and over again because of a weak second serve.

But Jankovic rallied to take the second set 7-5 before Williams, who struggled repeatedly on match point, eventually won 6-3 in a sloppily-played third set.

The eighth-seeded Williams also won her fifth championship here, having won last year in addition to claiming three straight titles from 2002-04.

Williams has amassed a 47-5 record during her 10 appearances at this hardcourt tournament, also finished as a runner-up in 1999 to sister Venus.

"I was definitely up and on my way to glory within an hour, but I started making a lot of mistakes, and Jelena obviously started playing better too," said Williams.

"Players who have nothing to lose are the most dangerous people in life on the court. I thought I had like 15 match points; I'm glad to know it wasn't. It was weird."

Jankovic admitted it had been a tough physical battle.

"I tried to come back. I tried to fight. I thought Serena really had trouble closing out the match. But she was very strong," said the Serbian.

"When she's playing her best tennis, when she's serving well, it's just tough to match up against her. Even though I work hard physically, I can never in my life be as strong as her."

Williams dominated early and was serving for the win at 5-4 in the second set, but Jankovic extended the match by reeling off three straight games.

After opening up a 5-0 lead in the third set, Williams began to stumble again - squandering three match points on serve at 5-2.

The 26-year-old shattered her racket by angrily slamming it on the court when Jankovic broke to make it 5-3.

Williams finally put the match away by breaking Jankovic in the ensuing game with a crosscourt overhand smash on championship point.

Jankovic, who was seeking her first WTA Tour win since claiming her fifth title at Birmingham in June, would have reached a career-high No. 2 ranking with a win.

The 23-year-old, who beat Williams in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, has split six meetings with the eight-time Grand Slam champion.

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