Serena Williams Sets Records with Year-end WTA Title
World No. 1 Serena Williams ended the season on a high note Sunday, recovering from a three-setter the previous day to outlast China’s Li Na 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 for the year-end TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships title in Istanbul.
“I don’t know how I got through that one,” Williams said. “I’ve just had a really long year, and I’m just really excited, honestly. I really didn’t expect to get through this match today. Wow, thank God. I can’t believe I won. I was so tired. Honestly, did I really win? Because she played so well.”
In the Saturday semifinals, Williams defeated former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. In the final down a set and 3-3, Williams won nine games in a row to close out the match.
The win made Williams at 32 years, one month, the oldest player to win the year-end championships. Her fourth year-end championships title puts her in a class with Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf to win four or more. She becomes the first player to win 11 WTA titles in a season since 1997, when Martina Hingis won 12.
Del Potro Moves Federer’s Cheese in Basel Final
Juan Martin del Potro came into Roger Federer’s native Switzerland and came out for the second straight year with the Swiss Open title, defeating the former No. 1 and five-time former Basel champion 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-4 for his fourth title of the year.
“The fans were cheering for him a lot, but they also respected me,” del Potro said. “They made a fantastic atmosphere. I think we played the best match of the tournament today.”
Federer with a win would have secured a spot at the year-end Masters event, but now he must advance to the third round at this week’s Paris Masters to be sure of a Top 8 seat in London, according to the ATP.
“Probably my best match of the tournament overall, but it is always difficult to judge when you lose,” Federer said of the final.
Del Potro picked up his 17th career title, while Federer dropped to 5-5 in career Basel finals.
“I did hand the break over to him too easily in the third set, but overall I did well today,” Federer said. “It is a pity that I couldn’t have been tougher in the third. He did really well to serve it out. The last few of his service games were very solid. I was happy that after a lot of tough matches, I was able to withstand the challenge physically.”
Youzhny Sends Ferrer to Another Final Loss in Valencia
Russian Mikhail Youzhny stunned defending champion David Ferrer on Sunday in the Valencia Open final in Spain, defeating the Spaniard 6-3, 7-5. It was the second title this year for the Russian after Gstaad.
“It is a really good tournament and has a great atmosphere,” Youzhny said.
Youzhny broke to go up 5-1 before securing the opening set, and in the second recovered from a 1-4 deficit.
“The truth is that Youzhny played very good,” said Ferrer after losing in his sixth consecutive final. “He sliced and served very well. He was more comfortable then me on court, I was missing touch.”
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