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Venus cruises in Taiwan, captures 49th career title

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 19: Venus Williams of the United States plays a forehand in her first round match against Johanna Konta of Great Britain during day two of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
February 14, 2016 08:09 AM

By E.J. Crawford, USTA.com

Venus Williams is on the cusp of another career milestone.

The sure-fire Hall of Famer captured the 49th title of her career on Sunday, defeating Misaki Doi, 6-4, 6-2, to win the Taiwan Open. Only six women in WTA history have won 50 career titles.

Williams is currently seventh on the all-time list and second among active players in tournament victories, trailing only sister Serena, who has 69. Martina Navratilova leads the way with 167 career titles.

"I celebrated Valentine's Day with a win. That's the best way!" Venus told WTATennis.com. "I made so many wonderful moments and memories that I'll be bringing a lot of love back with me to the States. The last five days were so exciting, just to feel the enthusiasm and to play great tennis every day. It was perfect week for me."

Williams was the overwhelming favorite entering the tournament – the No. 12 player in the world was the only Top 50 entrant – and she did not disappoint, cruising to the crown without dropping a set in any of her five matches. On Sunday, the top seed broke her second-seeded opponent six times and saved six of nine break-point opportunities on her own serve to ease to the victory.

After winning just two titles from 2011 to 2014, as she struggled with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an auto-immune disorder, the seven-time Grand Slam champion has now won four crowns – three in Asia – since the start of 2015. Last year she won three titles and finished in the year-end Top 10 for the first time since 2010.

Williams, 35, got off to a slow start this year, falling in the first round of the Australian Open. But she won two matches last weekend to carry the U.S. to a 4-0 victory over Poland in Fed Cup play, and carried that momentum into this week in Taiwan.

"I've had so much success in Asia," Williams said. "I feel like it's very lucky to play here."