She looked a bit befuddled throughout the week, and her footwork betrayed her sometimes, but when it came down to defending her Madrid title, Serena Williams looked like--well, like Serena Williams. She defeated Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4, winning her 50th title, and was in control of the match from start to finish. Of course, the longer this losing streak to Williams goes on, the worse it appears to get. Sharapova doesn't look like herself when she plays the world number 1, who--every time her opponent starts to figure things out--simply elevates her game another notch.
Yesterday, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won the Madrid doubles title by defeating Cara Black and Marina Erakovic 6-2, 6-4. This is the second title Pavlyuchenkova and Safarova have won as a team; they were the champions in Charleston in 2012. Pavlyuchenkova's new coach, Martina Hingis, also coached the unseeded championship team to the Madrid final.
Meanwhile, in Rome, Mallory Burdette beat Madison Keys in the second qualifying round, and the top-seeded qualifier, Lourdes Dominguez Lino, was knocked out in the second qualifying round by Andrea Hlavackova.
Also qualifying was Anabel Medina Garrigues, who played a very good match against Serena Williams in the Madrid quarterfinals. And regarding the Spaniard's fluffing of new balls, the WTA has acknowledged that if the umpire had seen her do it, she would most likely have had a code violation called on her.