Serena Williams won the WTA Championships for the third time in her career after defeating Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday, but was unable to move up from the No. 3 ranking in the world.
“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.”
Williams, who did not start the year off playing well, finished an impressive year winning at Charleston, Madrid, Wimbledon, Stanford, the Olympics and the U.S. Open.
“I had such a good year, it was important to end on a good note. It was good for my sanity to win,” Williams said. “I really wanted it although I didn’t need it.”
From the beginning of the game Williams set the tone as she hit a powerful return on her first match point.
Sharapova, No. 2, attempted to keep the battle close as Williams rushed forward to get to a drop shot and put away a passing-shot winner in the seventh game won by Sharapova after five deuces. Williams would go on to close out the set with an ace.
“Today she had another great serving day against me,” Sharapova said. “I don’t think I even had a break point. Maybe it was partly me not doing enough on the returns and partly she was serving well – a few moments when it was 30-all or 15-all, I didn’t get a good return in. But that’s one of the reason she’s such a great champion and has had a tremendous about of success in her career.”
Williams finished the match with an astounding +26 differential of winners to unforced errors (40 to 14) compared to Sharapova finishing at +1 (13 to 12).
Williams managed to complete the tournament without dropping a set any of her opponents, which included No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
“If I’m playing well and doing everything right, it’s pretty difficult to beat me, without trying to sound too full of myself,” she said. “And I hate to lose.”
The 31-year-old became the oldest player to win the WTA Championships, while becoming the second player in WTA history to surpass $7 million in prize money for a single season behind Azarenka.
Williams finishes the year with an overall record of 59-4. She was 31-1 since her first round loss at the French Open, hoping that this momentum will carry over into the 2013 season to potentially regain the No. 1 ranking.