Caroline Wozniacki beat Venus Williams in the unlikely WTA Finals final, capping an unlikely year where the No. 1 ranking switched hands a number of times in the absence of the women’s game’s stars.
Seven players could finish year-end No. 1 entering the WTA Finals. Wozniacki beat the elder Williams sister 6-4, 6-4 in the final, but Wozniacki did not finish the year No. 1.
It was Simona Halep, who did not win a major title, and lost in the first round of two of the majors.
It was the first WTA Finals win for Wozniacki, who had lost in the final seven years previously.
“I was up 5-0, everything was going well, and all of a sudden, Venus just starts upping her game,” Wozniacki said of the second set. “She went for her shots, she started serving to my body, and I’m just so happy that I managed to win in the end.”
Williams’ footwork looked sluggish after surviving a 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3 semifinal win over Caroline Garcia. Wozniacki in her semifinal defeated Karolina Pliskova, another player who rose to No. 1 this year, 7-6(9), 6-3.
Williams left money and ranking points on the table, as she was 7-0 career against the Dane entering the final. Wozniacki at the same time played her scrappy best, striking 19 winners to only eight unforced errors.
“I think I got a lot of her serves back, and obviously she has a big first serve, but at the same time, I tried to keep pressure on her and tried to take a little bit of time away and stay a little bit closer to the baseline,” Wozniacki said. “It’s important for me to try and cut the angles and try and take the ball on the rise, and I think I did that pretty well.”
Wozniacki will finish the year ranked No. 3, and Williams No. 5.
“She played really well the whole match,” Williams said. “You know, I played well parts of the match and tried my best.”
In the end it was a year best summarized by Serena Williams getting pregnant and Maria Sharapova getting busted for doping.
The year 2018 will show whether 2017 No. 1s Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza are pretenders, and if Serena and Maria can return to their dominating ways. To not really go out on a limb, 12 months from now will likely look very different on the Top 5 WTA Rankings.
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