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Serena Williams

Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is a professional women's tennis player who has won seven Grand Slam singles titles and is a former World No. 1. She is the younger sister of another female tennis player, Venus Williams. She currently resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, United States.
Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan. When she and her four sisters were young, their parents, Richard and Oracene (also called Brandy), lived in the poor and violent Los Angeles suburb of Compton. Her father dreamed of making at least one of his daughters a tennis superstar, hoping that involvement in sports would give them a way out of that neighborhood. When Serena was four and a half, she won her first tournament, and she entered 49 tournaments before the age of 10, winning 46 of them. At one point, she replaced her sister Venus as the number one ranked tennis player aged 12 or under in California.
Williams went into the Australian Open with no warm-up tournaments or exhibitions due to injury, except for a 6-3, 6-1 loss to Elena Dementieva at the Watsons Water Challenge in Hong Kong. Williams was the defending champion at the Australian Open but fell to Daniela Hantuchova 6-1, 7-6(7-5) in the third round. In earlier rounds, Williams defeated Na Li of China (6-3, 6-7, 6-2) and Camille Pin of France (6-3, 6-1). Her early exit provoked media reports that Williams had lost her enthusiasm for the sport, which she denied. She then fell out of the top 50 for the first time in many years. She then pulled out of the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open, and the Nasdaq 100 Open. After withdrawing from the Charleston, South Carolina Family Circle Cup, Williams fell out of the top-100 players in the world for the first time in almost a decade. Shortly after, on May 3, she announced that she would miss both the French Open and Wimbledon as a result of her nagging chronic knee injury. She revealed that she would not be able to compete before "the end of the summer," on doctors' orders. Williams, however, made a return to the game earlier than expected, accepting wildcards into events in Cincinnati and Los Angeles. She admitted that her six-month break from competitive tennis was as much for a "mental break" as for urgent rehabilitation for her knee injury.
Ranked No. 139 due to her inactivity, Williams made a successful comeback by defeating the Cincinnati tournament's No. 2 seed and No. 11-ranked Anastasia Myskina 6-2, 6-2, in the first round. She then defeated Bethanie Mattek 6-3, 6-1 and Amy Frazier 6-2, 6-2 before losing to a resurgent and the eventual champion Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-3 in a semifinal. Williams ranking rose to No. 108 as a result of this tournament. In Los Angeles, Williams defeated world No. 21 Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-1 in the first round. In the second round, Williams defeated fellow American Ashley Harkleroad 6-3, 6-2. Williams then faced Daniela Hantuchova, the woman responsible for her early Australian Open exit. Williams had this to say about the rematch, "I'm a much better player than I was in Australia," and "I'm much more fit; I'm much more ready. I'm in a better place. It's a whole different ball game." She beat Hantuchova 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 and then beat Meghann Shaughnessy 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-3 to set up a semifinal match against Jelena Jankovic. Williams lost the match 6-4, 6-3. Williams was granted a wildcard into the US Open, as her ranking prevented her from gaining direct entry into the tournament. She was ranked 79th in the main draw and was unseeded in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 1998. Williams lost to Amelie Mauresmo in the fourth round 6-4, 0-6, 6-2. At the end of 2006, she was ranked 95th.

Grand Slam singles finals

Year Championship Position Opponent Score
1999 U.S. Open Champion Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-6
2002 French Open Champion Venus Williams 7-5, 6-3
2002 Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams 7-6, 6-3
2002 U.S. Open Champion Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3
2003 Australian Open Champion Venus Williams 7-6, 3-6, 6-4
2003 Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
2005 Australian Open Champion Lindsay Davenport 2-6, 6-3, 6-0
2001 U.S. Open Runner-Up Venus Williams 6-2, 6-4
2004 Wimbledon Runner-Up Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4

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