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Serena reigns supreme in Istanbul

posted 28 Oct 2012, 16:10 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 28 Oct 2012, 16:11 ]

Serena Williams wins the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul by beatingMaria Sharapova 6-4 6-3, but is still not world number one.

 ISTANBULTURKEY (OCTOBER 28, 2012) (EUROSPORT / UCOM) -  Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-3 in the WTA Championships final in Istanbul on Sunday (October 28), her seventh WTA title of year.

In a near faultless performance by the 15-times grand slam tournament champion, Williams never faced a break point during the final and was able to produce winners every time she was put under pressure by her Russian opponent.

The 31-year-old also lifted singles silverware this year at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the London Olympics, Madrid, Charleston and Stanford.

After starting the year slowly, partly due to an ankle injury sustained in Brisbane during the first week of the year, Williams has been a supreme force ending 2012 with a 58-4 win/loss record.

So often cast aside in their previous meetings, Sharapova played far better against Williams this time around, but she could never get a good look at Serena's serve and that proved to be her undoing.

Williams broke Sharapova at 3-2 in the first set with a hard backhand down the line. Sharapova then fought off two break points in the seventh game with big groundstrokes, but she could not get enough returns back in play to hurt the American when she was serving.

Williams then closed the first set with a serve that Sharapova barely got her racquet on.

Never looking back, Williams again broke Sharapova to open the second with a stunning smash into the corner.

Sharapova managed to get to deuce for the first time in the eighth game of the set, but Williams responded with a forehand crosscourt and a service winner to hold 5-3.

She then broke Sharapova to win with an outright return of serve winner.

Williams will still end 2012 ranked number three behind Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Williams beat Sharapova each of the three times they met this year and also won all five of her matches against number one Azarenka of Belarus, but she did not compete at two mandatory WTA events in Indian Wells and Beijing. Had she played the events, she might have ended the year at number one.

Williams said after Sunday's match: "I just -- every match I tried to get better; I was watching everything and learning from my opponents and then I just wanted to do better and better."

Sharapova said of her year: "I reached a lot of great, great goals this year, you know: my first time as an Olympian, carrying my flag for my country; winning Roland Garros, you know; becoming number one again."