"It was a tight situation and I guess I probably had a better attitude towards it," she said. "I didn't feel nervous at all but I felt she was getting nervous."
The German, tuning up for next week's Australian Open, appeared to be heading out of the tournament after she fell 4-2 behind in the third set against one of the modern game's most determined players. But she called on her vast reserves of experience to win the next four games.
Williams said the difference between the players was in the mental approach. "I think I learnt a good lesson today. She definitely wanted to win more than I did and I know I'll have to work harder in the future."
Lindsay Davenport kept her grip on the top ranking with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Switzerland's Patty Schynder. The American was in danger of surrendering the world No 1 ranking to Martina Hingis if she failed to reach the last four and her Swiss rival took the Sydney title. Hingis powered past Belgium's Dominique Van Roost 6-2, 6-0 and said of her ranking duel with Davenport: "It means a lot to me, I want to get it back."
In the Kooyong tournament, Tim Henman lost his second round-robin match, against the Russian Yevgeny Kefelnikov, 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. A lacklustre Andre Agassi lost to Sweden's Thomas Enqvist 6-3, 7-6.Reuse content