Serena Williams overcame a relatively inexperienced Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4 to claim the WTA Auckland champion title, her first one after a gap of three years.

Williams, who was the top-seeded player at the Auckland Open slipped 1-3 behind a particularly enthusiastic Pegula managed to break out of the chasing spree to recover from the setback and finished the first round 6-3.

The 38-year-old American did not look back and relentlessly kept piling up points after points to win the second set 6-4 ending her fellow national’s WTA journey.

The victory marked 73rd title victory for the US tennis pro during a career now spanning four decades and also her first after giving birth in 2017. She won her first medal in 1999.

Williams will now be aiming for the title victory at Australian Open next month to equal Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slam champion titles at Melbourne.

Pagula had earlier pulled off a stunning victory in the semi-final to upset the top-ranked female tennis player Caroline Wozniacki dominating the tie breaker.

Meanwhile, French tennis player Jonathan Kanar has been penalized a $2,000 fine and a four-year-long suspension from the sport by the Tennis Integrity Unit after admitting to match-fixing and not reporting illegal betting efforts to the authorities.

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