Sharapova defeats injured Williams in final of WTA Championships

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Maria Sharapova overcame an early third-set mental lapse against an injured Serena Williams to win the WTA Championships 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Monday in a rematch of their Wimbledon final.

Maria Sharapova overcame an early third-set mental lapse against an injured Serena Williams to win the WTA Championships 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Monday in a rematch of their Wimbledon final.

Sharapova stunned Williams for the Wimbledon title in July, propelling the 17-year-old Russian to international stardom. She finished the year with five titles.

"I don't think I could've asked for anything better this year," Sharapova said. "It's been an extraordinary year for me. I know that I'm not showing a lot of emotion, but I'm sort of just speechless."

Williams trailed 5-2 in the second set when she called for a trainer after apparently straining an abdominal muscle. The injury greatly affected Williams' serve - usually a 120mph (193kmh) weapon but reduced to the 65mph (104.5kmh) puff of a weekend hacker.

"After she got the medical treatment, I could tell that she had problems serving, but on the groundstrokes she was just teeing off on everything," Sharapova said. "Beside her serve, she didn't look injured once she was playing, so she was actually being really tough. I couldn't capitalize on the weak serves that she hit."

Williams left the court for five minutes and returned to have her serve broken in losing the set 6-2. She rolled to a 4-0 lead in the third, including winning the first 11 points of the set and twice breaking a flustered Sharapova.

"She figured that she can't really do anything from her serve so she had to hit everything as hard as she could and that's exactly what she did," Sharapova said. "There was just not too much I could do. I just tried to find a little opening and get back in there."

After the third game, the trainer reappeared to wind a large wrap around Williams' stomach. She slipped an ice bag under her shirt on later changeovers.

"It's definitely a muscle strain," said Williams, who felt a cramp in her stomach in the first game of the match. "I don't know how I stayed out there. I definitely thought about not finishing the match, but I like to fight, I guess."

Sharapova earned $1 million (£770,000) - tying the U.S. Open winner's cheque - for the second major title of her career. She also received a new car to donate to charity. She said she planned to give the car or proceeds from its sale to the survivors of the September hostage-taking at a school in Beslan, Russia, that left more than 300 people dead, half of them children.

She will rise to a career-high fourth when the year-end WTA rankings are released Tuesday. By reaching the final, Williams rose to No. 7. She won two titles, but none in the Grand Slam events for the first time since 2001.

Comments