By Jane Voigt
October 27, 2013 — Li Na played lights out in the first set, keeping her promise to Coach Carlos Rodriguez to stay focused on her own game, as Serena Williams dragged herself from point to point. Out of fuel, as she had phrased it yesterday.
Yet, as usual, Williams left behind her tired legs and mind and concentrated, knowing Li Na was very capable of grabbing the glory. Her mood went from impossibly ugly to determined and focused. Her serve found its rhythm while her groundstrokes penetrated the court. She created miraculous angles that left Li running wildly off balance. Errors followed.
Li Na acquiesced, in mind more than in body. She couldn’t find a first serve in the last set, and Serena took advantage. By that time, Li had done everything in her power to send her promise on vacation before it was time.
Four hours into their match, Serena Williams was one game away from her fourth WTA Championship victory. The scoreline, 5-0. Final score, 26 63 60. Not perfect, but victorious nonetheless.
“A fitting conclusion to a remarkable year,” Patrick McEnroe said, calling the match for ESPN3.
This was Williams 11th title for the year, which includes crowns from Roland Garros and the U. S. Open. With regard to income, she has earned the third most for a single-season, considering both men and women, with $12.4 million USD, $2.2 million from this week in Istanbul.
Many believe this was Williams’ best year ever, considering she does not usually play an Asian swing after the U. S. Open.
She ends the season with a remarkable record of 78-4. She is the oldest year-ending champion, too, once again. This final was the first where two women over 30 competed for honors.
Next year, the WTA Championships will be held in Singapore. The contract extends three years.
Of the six women competing today in singles’ and doubles’ finals, three were Asian. Su-Wei Hsieh and Shuai Peng, the No. 2 seeds in doubles, defeated Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 64 75. Singapore could not have been a better pick, given the week’s results.