After a three-year title drought, Serena Williams finally won the WTA Auckland Classic, beating surprise finalist Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4.
It was Williams’ first title since 2017 — and her first as a mother — since she won the Australian Open while pregnant. Her 73 WTA titles now stretch across four decades, after she won her first in 1999.
An emotional Serena Williams donated her USD 43,000 winner’s cheque to the Australian bushfire relief fund, saying her thoughts were with Australians.
In addition to donating her winner’s cheque, Williams has also signed the dress she wore in the first round in Auckland and put it up for auction to raise funds for the Australian appeal.
“I’ve been playing in Australia for over 20 years and it’s been really hard for me to watch all the news and everything that has been happening in Australia with all the fire and… animals and people that have lost their homes,” Serena Williams said.