Serena Williams secures first title in three years in Auckland

Serena Williams has won her first title since becoming a mother with victory in the ASB Classic Final in Auckland.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner beat Jessica Pegula 6-3 6-4 to claim her 73rd WTA title and first in three years.

Williams had not previously won a set in the any of the finals she had reached since the birth of baby Olympia in September 2017 but after falling 2-0 down in the opener she saved four break points on her way to taking it 6-3.

The second was more straightforward as Williams created eight break chances and had four match points before sealing victory.

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

“It definitely feels good, I’m definitely improving as the week went on, and I needed to because it’s been a lot of tough matches this week. I’ve played every day and I’m still here.”

Williams also announced she would donate her winnings to the Australian bushfire relief fund.

In Australia, Karolina Pliskova completed a successful defence of her title at the Brisbane International with a 6-4 4-6 7-5 victory over Madison Keys.

Pliskova had to fight hard for her third career title. Keys, finding herself 6-4 3-2 down, won four of the next five games to force a third set but eventually succumbed in a contest which lasted a little over two hours.