The WTA Family Circle Cup, a clay-court event held in Charleston, South Carolina this past week, was supposed to be any ordinary event in early April. The one woman who viewed this "small" tournament as much more was Serena Williams. Williams, who played only her third tournament of the year at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, came into Charleston hoping to re-gain her form in time for the vitally-important clay-court swing. In typical Serena Williams fashion, she blew through the field en route to her 40th career title and first on clay since 2008. The veteran American was at her best on Saturday and Sunday, dropping just two games to Samantha Stosur in the semifinals and only one to Lucie Safarova in the Final.
Even though most top players did not play in Charleston, Serena has plenty to happy about. She played for the first time since a disappointing Australian Open at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, where she fell in the quarterfinals to Caroline Wozniacki. While this was not a bad result at all considering the time she had taken off, it was vital for Williams to gain some kind of momentum going into the clay-court season. She plans on playing in only two more events before the French Open, a tournament she has only won once in her long and storied career. After the win in Charleston, Serena was quick to mention how comfortable she feels on clay at this point and how bad she wants another French Open Championship. While the Family Circle Cup is a far cry from the second Major of the Year, Serena Williams desperately needed to win a tournament. This goal was accomplished in dominant fashion.
Serena was not the only Williams in Charleston this past week. Venus, who came into Charleston having played just one tournament since the 2011 US Open, also looked to be in good form for much of the tournament. After three dominant three-set victories, Venus found herself in a tough battle with Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals. After taking the second set to even up the match, Williams just could not stay with the Aussie, who pulled away in the third to advance to the semifinals. For Venus, the WTA Family Circle Cup was far from a disappointment. She has made the quarterfinals in both tournaments she has played since withdrawing from the 2011 US Open, when she made public the fact that she had been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. Much like her sister, Venus has to be fairly confident entering the clay-court season. Even though clay is far from Venus's favorite service, she should be a factor in every tournament she plays in.
So, a rather ordinary week for the WTA Tour turned into the Serena Williams Show and showed the tennis world a lot about the health and condition of Venus Williams. Being able to see both of them play in the French Open would be a welcome sight for tennis fans all over the world. Even when they are not playing their best, there always seems to be some extra buzz around a Major when both Venus and Serena Williams are playing. We can only hope that the WTA Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina will serve as an indication of what is to come for both Williams Sisters