Serena Williams wins first title in three years, donates prize money to wildfire relief efforts

Serena Williams ended her title draught this weekend, winning the ASB Classic in Aukland, New Zealand, which is her first title in three years.

The 23-time grand slam champion defeated Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday's final. It was Williams' 73rd career title and her first since returning from maternity leave after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr., who joined her on court as she posed for photographers after the win.

Credit: Getty Images

Before winning in Aukland, Williams' most recent tournament win came at the 2017 Australian Open in January 2017, when she defeated older sister Venus Williams to capture her 23rd grand slam title. She was pregnant with Olympia at the time.

While accepting her trophy following the match, the 38-year-old athlete announced that she would be donating all of her prize money from the ASB Classic to relief efforts for the Australian wildfires.

Williams also made it to the doubles final at Aukland before she and partner Caroline Wozniacki, who will retire after the Australian Open, lost to Americans Taylor Townsend and Asia Muhammad.

The tennis great's tournament win follows two years of well-documented struggles to seal the deal in finals: Since returning from maternity leave, Williams has lost in two straight Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals.

Her win in Aukland, however, should give her more confidence heading into the Australian Open later this month, where she'll be hoping to capture her elusive 24th major title.

"It's pretty satisfying just to get a win in the final," Williams said after the match. "That was really important for me — and I just want to build on it. It's just a step towards the next goal."