October 28, 2012

Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova to win WTA Championships

Serena Williams' motivating factor in her WTA Championships triumph on Sunday was to save her own sanity, the American said after beating Maria Sharapova in the final of the season-ending tournament.

Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday to win the WTA Championships for the third time and finish the year with another title although not the top ranking.

Williams ended the year with a 59-4 record. Since her first-round loss at the French Open, the American has a record of 31 wins and one defeat, winning Wimbledon, the Olympic gold medal and the US Open. But she will finish the year ranked No3, with Sharapova just above her. Victoria Azarenka, beaten by Sharapova in the semi-finals, ended the year as the top-ranked player in the world.

"If I'm playing well and doing everything right, it's pretty difficult to beat me, without trying to sound too full of myself," Williams said. "And I hate to lose."

In 2001 and 2009 Williams also won the elite, year-end tournament that brings together the top eight players in the world.

Williams closed out the first set on Sunday with one of the 11 aces she served in the match, broke Sharapova to start the second and was never really threatened again. She hit a powerful return on her first match point, finishing with 40 winners compared with Sharapova's 13.

Maria Sharapova of Russia reacts during her tennis match against Serena Williams of the US on the final of the WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.
Williams finished the tournament in Istanbul without dropping a set and she also beat Azarenka in round-robin play, one of her four wins against the No1 this year.

The American has won 12 straight matches against opponents ranked No1 or No2 and has not lost to a player ranked in the top two since 2007.

Williams also became the oldest player, at 31, to win the year-end championships and has seven titles this year. But because she did not play as well at the start of the year following injuries and illness, Williams will have to settle for the No3 ranking despite dominating the tour in the past few months.

"Now that I can be honest, I really wanted to win," Williams said. "I wanted it so bad but I didn't want to say it … It was really important for me to end the year with this title in particular."

No comments: