Li: I’m closing gap on Serena
Originally published on: 29/10/13 00:00
Li took the opening set against a tired-looking Williams in the final of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, but was helpless to prevent the world No.1 bouncing back to claim a 2-6 6-3 6-0 victory to defend her title.
Despite the defeat, Li moves ahead of Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska to No.3 in the rankings.
The former French Open champion, who lost 6-0 6-3 when she met Williams in the semi-finals of the US Open in September, is determined to close the gap further next season.
"I was feeling much, much better than when I played her at the US Open,” Li said. “I've worked so hard to prove that I can be at this level. I tried my best – even if I had no more energy after one and a half sets, that's still my problem. Maybe I should work even harder in the wintertime to improve for next year.”
Li started the year with twin goals of winning a second Grand Slam title and breaking into the world’s top three. Having achieved half of her target, her coach Carlos Rodriguez believes the Australian Open in January will be the perfect opportunity for the 31-year-old to complete her objectives.
''I think it's maybe the best conditions for her. That is what I see. Especially the beginning of the year, she's more fresh and [with] less pressure,'' he said of the two-time finalist in Melbourne.