Serena Williams wins WTA Championships
THE WAY THE season has gone for Serena Williams, there was only one fitting way for it to end.
Williams capped a career year in style yesterday in Istanbul, earning her 11th title by coming from behind to beat Li Na, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, for her second straight WTA Championships crown.
Williams became the eighth woman to win 11 or more titles in a year and the first since Martina Hingis had 12 in 1997. The American also is the first to repeat as champion at the season-ending WTA Championships since Justine Henin in 2007.
"It was an awesome year of tennis," said Williams, who sank to her knees after firing a backhand winner on her second match point.
The victory brought Williams' prize money total for the year to $12,385,572. The only player, male or female, to earn more in a year was Novak Djokovic with $12,803,737 in 2012 and $12,619,803 in 2011.
Williams won the event for the fourth time, having captured the elite tournament for the top eight players also in her debut in 2001 and in '09 and '12.
Williams has won 78 of 82 matches this year and will finish the year as the top-ranked player for the third time in her career after 2002 and 2009. Williams' titles this year included the French and U.S. Opens for a total of 17 Grand Slam crowns. Her winning percentage of .951 is the best on the tour since 1990. Martina Navratilova had an 86-1 record and a .989 percentage in 1983.
Still, Williams said she would have preferred to have won at least one more Grand Slam title.
"I live to win slams. I mean, obviously I'm so excited to be the WTA champion," Williams said. "I can't say it's the best [season]. I can't say it's not the best. I don't know."
Li was in her first WTA Championships final and will finish the year at a career-high No. 3.
The final featured two players above the age of 30 for the first time in the championships' 43-year history. Williams is 32 and Li is 31.
In other tournaments:
* Juan Martin del Potro denied Roger Federer his hometown Swiss Indoors title for the second straight year, winning the final, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-4, in Basil.
* Mikhail Youzhny claimed his 10th career title by beating top-seeded David Ferrer, 6-3, 7-5, to win the Valencia (Spain) Open.
* Gary Woodland and Ryan Moore had to wait until this morning to decide the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Woodland and Moore tied for the lead at 14-under 274 after the final round. The sudden-death playoff was postponed because of darkness.
* Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano won the BMW Masters in Shanghai by one shot despite a double-bogey on 18.
* Suzann Pettersen successfully defended her title in the LPGA Taiwan Championship in Yangmei for her fourth tour victory of the year and third in her last five starts. The Norwegian star closed with a 3-under 69 for a five-stroke victory over Azahara Munoz. Pettersen earned $300,000 for her 14th LPGA title.
* Kenny Perry made an 8-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff with Bernhard Langer to win the Champions Tour's AT&T Championship in San Antonio.
* American Ted Ligety won the season-opening World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, for the third consecutive year.
* Sebastian Vettel clinched his fourth straight Formula One championship by winning the Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida, India. The Red Bull driver, 26, became the third driver to win four consecutive F1 championships, joining Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
* Joshua Tree successfully defended his title in the $1 million Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto to become the first three-time winner in the event's history.
* A former first-class cricketer in South Africa died after being hit in the head by the ball while batting. He was 32. The national body Cricket South Africa said Darryn Randall died yesterday at a hospital in the town of Alice. He was struck on the side of the head and collapsed during a league match. It was not clear if he was wearing a helmet. Randall, a wicketkeeper-batsman, played four first-class games for the Border province in 2009.