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Tennis: Montreal next in Serena's pursuit of 18th Slam

Top-ranked Serena Williams arrived Monday (August 4) at the WTA Montreal hardcourt tournament confident after a title in Stanford, and hopeful she can capture her 18th Grand Slam crown at the US Open.

MONTREAL: Top-ranked Serena Williams arrived Monday (August 4) at the WTA Montreal hardcourt tournament confident after a title in Stanford, and hopeful she can capture her 18th Grand Slam crown at the US Open.

In her first warm-up event for the US open that begins in three weeks, Williams rolled to the title and served notice she was on form after a Wimbledon exit that due to a virus left her struggling to hit a serve in a women's doubles match.

"The summer tournaments, I'm trying to do my best, not in the tournaments but in each match more than anything, just try to improve with each match," Williams said. "As for chasing the 18th one, that thing has been avoiding me so hopefully one day I'll catch up with it."

Williams has already set Stanford behind her as she works to improve before the Flushing Meadows fortnight. "Definitely was excited to get that win under my belt, but that was already last week, so now I'm moving on to this week," she said.

Williams gets a touch of her much-loved French surroundings in Montreal. "It does have that mixture European vibe mixed with the USA. I think it's almost a perfect mixture, which makes it such a great city," she said. "It kind of gives me my little European fix by coming to Montreal."

Williams has celebrated 200 weeks atop the world rankings in her career. "It's cool. I feel really good about it," she said. "It's really awesome for me. I'm really kind of excited that I was able to get to 200. Yet another check off the list."

Top players received first-round byes at the tournament, which lost its first seed when numbr 13 Sara Errani of Italy was beaten by Belgium's Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 7-5. Britain's Heather Watson advanced to the second round by downing Czech Tereza Smitkova 6-4,5-7, 6-4 while France's Alize Cornet dispatched American Lauren Davis 6-3, 7-5.

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