Serena sinks Li to triumph in Istanbul
Originally published on: 27/10/13 00:00
The world No.1 battled back from a lacklustre opening set to defeat Li Na to lift her 11th trophy of the season.
Williams ended the season with an astonishing 78 wins from 82 matches in 2013, having already secured the year-end No.1 ranking for a third time. An unbeaten run at the Sinan Erdem Dome saw the 32-year-old take her season earnings to $12,385,572, obliterating the previous best set by Victoria Azarenka last year ($7,923,920) and the third highest in history after Novak Djokovic’s 2011 and 2012 prize money totals.
Williams admitted she felt burnt out after her exhausting semi-final victory over Jelena Jankovic and looked drained as she limped through the opening set, hitting just five winners and 10 unforced errors.
However, she dug deep, fighting off break points early in the second set before racing to a 3-0 lead. Li battled back to 3-3 but was unable to sustain her challenge as Williams won the next nine games to streak to a 2-6 6-3 6-0 victory.
"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. Wow, thank God. I can't believe I won. I was so tired. Honestly, did I really win? Because she played so well.
"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."
Williams is only the fourth woman in history to win four or more titles at the season-ending championships after Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.