Serena Williams wins 2011 Rogers Cup, gains seeding for U.S. Open

After nearly a year away from competition, Serena Williams eased her way back to the court in June.  Her comeback, however, ended up being anything but gradual.  After losing early in Eastbourne and Wimbledon, Williams helped the Washington Kastles to an undefeated season and the World Team Tennis championship.  She then defeated an impressive lineup of opponents to capture the Bank of the West Classic; already in her second round, three-set win against Maria Kirilenko, her speed and groundstrokes were sharper.

Williams’ victory at Stanford, however, only enabled her to emerge from a ranking submerged in the triple-digits to the top 80.  Determined to grab a U.S. Open seeding, Williams continued her form in Toronto at the 2011 Rogers Cup and won her second straight title, beating Samantha Stosur, 6-4, 6-2, in the final.  The title propelled her into the top 40 and provided her enough momentum heading to the U.S. Open, where she’ll play as the No. 28 seed when the final Grand Slam event begins Monday.

“A lot of people…are still expecting me to be at the top level, and I expect it even more,” Williams said at a Rogers Cup press conference.

Dozens of photos from the Rogers Cup follow, with a number of the featured players – including world No. 1 Carolina Wozniacki, French Open winner Li Na and Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova – also in New York this week.

Photos: 2011 Rogers Cup

For more on the Rogers Cup, check out our coverage of the inaugural Legends Cup featuring Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Jim Courier and John McEnroe.