In a rematch of their Olympic Gold medal match, it’s Serena Williams against Maria Sharapova for the WTA Championships title. One this is for sure, Sharapova hopes it doesn’t turn out like it did at London in August when Serena destroyed the Russian 6-0, 6-1.
That was on grass, on which Serena dominates, but she’s pretty good on hardcourt, too. So I really don’t think it will matter much.
Through the tournament, Serena hasn’t lost a set after hammering an exhausted Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour. Radwanska, who pushed Serena to three in the Wimbledon final, had nothing to offer after winning a 3-hour, 29-minute round robin match yesterday.
“Those last two matches really killed me,” admitted Radwanska. “Especially that I didn’t have the day off, and especially that surface – it’s very sticky, so three and a half hours is a lot. I really tried today and I really wanted to run, but my legs just didn’t. This is the kind of tournament where you have to be fit every match to win.”
Serena is now a perfect 4-0 against Radwanska.
“I probably had an idea she was tired,” Williams said about the exchange. “I just told her that it was awesome she played so well and played through another match, after playing a good eight hours. It was really inspiring for me.”
In the second semifinal, World No. 2 Sharapova overmatched No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-2. By winning two round robin matches Azarenka does claim the year-end No. 1 ranking on the WTA, but could either Sharapova or Serena overtake her for the Player of the Year honors? It’s possible.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve done the whole year,” said Azarenka. “I started the year with No.3 and I finished with No.1, which in numbers doesn’t seem like a huge jump, but we all know in reality it’s a pretty big difference.
“I finished the year as a different person – maybe not different, but more mature, a much more mature person. I’m very proud of that too. The whole year was a lot of learning experience, trying new things and taking the whole journey with the good and a few bads – I didn’t have many. I cannot complain about this year.”
In their rivalry, Serena leads Maria 9-2 winning eight straight and nine sets consecutively. In fact, Sharapova hasn’t beaten Serena since the 2004 WTA Championships!
And the numbers are striking for Serena. This year Williams she’s won 18 of her last 19 meetings against opponents ranked in the Top 4, including 12 straight. Overall she’s won 47 of her last 49, losing only to Virginie Razzano at the French Open and then Angelique Kerber at Cincinnati. What a finish to the year for Serena and I think she caps it off tomorrow.
ESPN2 will have the final on Sunday.
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