Venus Williams became one of the oldest players to win a WTA title when she beat Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the Auckland Classic on Saturday.
The 34-year-old Williams took a little while to get going but managed to overcome the blustery conditions and a fired up Wozniacki to begin her Australian Open preparations by capturing her 46th career title.
The American, who lost the final on the central Auckland courts to Ana Ivanovic last year, had looked well out of sorts as she failed to adjust to the wind and hot conditions before she eventually prevailed 2-6 6-3 6-3 in 110 minutes.
The Dane, however, then rattled off five successive games to take a 5-1 lead as she negated the seven-times grand slam winner’s normally reliable service game and wrapped up the first set 6-2 in 31 minutes.
Williams, who had appeared flat-footed and not covering the court as well as Wozniacki in the first set, was broken in the first game of the second set, but finally clicked into gear to take a 4-2 lead that she never looked like relinquishing.
The American sent the game into a decider with a scorching backhand winner that sealed the set in 38 minutes and then broke the Dane in the third game of the third set to take the advantage.
Wozniacki, 24, managed to save three match points with some incredible desperation in the final game but Williams sealed victory when the world number eight hit a forehand into the net.
Only Billie Jean King, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Martina Navratilova have won WTA singles titles at an older age than Williams.