RELATED: Serena Williams completes title defense
By Sally Milano
Defending champion Serena Williams defeated Romania's Simona Halep, 6-3, 7-6 (5), Sunday to capture the women's singles title at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.
The victory gives Williams her fifth WTA title of the year – she also won the Australian Open, Miami, Roland Garros and Wimbledon – and her 69th career title overall, passing Evonne Goolagong for the fifth-most WTA titles in the Open Era behind Martina Navratilova (167), Chris Evert (154), Steffi Graf (107) and Margaret Court (92).
Williams has not lost a match on U.S. hard courts since she fell to Victoria Azarenka in the Cincinnati final two years ago. Since then, she is a perfect 43-0 on the surface, including a win over Ana Ivanovic to win the 2014 Cincinnati title.
Her only losses this year have come against Petra Kvitova in the Madrid semifinals and Belinda Bencic in the Toronto semifinals.
Williams, who improves her head-to-head record against Halep to 6-1, will be going for history in her next tournament, the US Open, where she will be competing to win the calendar-year Grand Slam.
The year's final major will take place from Aug. 31-Sept. 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.