United States (AFP) - World number one Serena Williams climbed out of an early hole to beat third-seeded German Angelique Kerber 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 on Sunday to win the WTA Stanford crown.
The top-seeded American, playing her first tournament since a disappointing Wimbledon campaign in which she was slowed by a virus, got her hardcourt build-up to the US Open off to a good start and will try to carry the momentum into next week's tournament at Montreal.
Williams notched her fourth title of 2014, after triumphs in Brisbane, Miami and Rome.
But the 17-time Grand Slam champion has struggled in majors this year, failing to make it past the fourth round in the Australian Open, French Open or Wimbledon.
She'll have her last chance of the year to add another major title to her resume at the US Open, which starts at Flushing Meadows on August 25.