(October 27, 2013) For Serena Williams it was icing on the cake to a career season as she rallied past Li Na 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in Istanbul to defend her WTA Championship title, her 11th of the year and the fourth time she’s won the event. Williams became the first player to defend the year end event since Justine Henin did it in 2007. It’s the American’s 57th title of her career, 13 more than any other current player and the seventh most in WTA history.
“At the start of the match, maybe I was feeling too excited,” first time WTA Championship finalist Li said. “So after one set and a half I felt like I had no more energy left. I have a little bit of a bad taste, because it’s 6-0 in the third set, but I still feel more positive things than negative. At least in the whole match I was using a lot of serve and volleying. I was trying as much as I could to come to the net. So it was an improvement there and I’m still happy overall.”
“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. I’m just overjoyed, to be honest. It’s really awesome. It’s such a special moment. To finish the year No.1 in the world and win this title after 40 years of the WTA, it means even more.”
Li Na will finish the year at a career-high No. 3 in the world, the highest ever for a Chinese player.
Williams was an astonishing 78-4 on the year a .951 win percentage winning over $12.3 million dollars for the year, a WTA record and third overall behind Novak Djokovic’s 2011 and 2012 seasons. At 32, Williams is the oldest player to win the year-end and to be WTA No. 1.
Williams has now extended her winning streak to 15 consecutive matches at the tournament; second behind Martina Navratilova, who won 21 in a row between 1983 and 1987 at the year-end championships.