Serena Williams Beats Li Na For WTA Title

Serena Williams beat Li Na, to win the WTA Title and ending her best season to date. She rallied after a difficult first set to win, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Sunday for her second straight WTA Championship and 11th title of the year. After crushing a backhand winner on her second match point, Williams sank to her knees in satisfied exhaustion. She became the eighth woman to win 11 or more titles in a year and the first to so since Martina Hingis had 12 in 1997.

Li Na started very strong against the sluggish Williams, who struggled on Saturday to beat Jelena Jankovic and later complained of being exhausted after a long season (of winning we might add). The Chinese star, getting the ball past Williams almost at will, easily broke serve for a 2-1 lead and plowed through the first set, which ended with Williams sinking a forehand into the net and hitting a backhand shot very wide.

The momentum began to shift when Williams won a key game at the start of the second set that went to nine deuces and lasted nearly 12 minutes. Serena Williams fended off two break points before finally prevailing with a service winner. At that point, Li managed to rip an ace, her only ace of the match, to make it 3-3. But she then managed a double-fault and a forehand error to give Williams an opportunity to serve out the set. Williams needed three set points to close it out.

Another double-fault by Li Na at the start of the third gave Williams a break of serve, and Williams was able to finish it out from there.

In defending her WTA title, Williams got a win that was worth $2.15 million. Her 2013 WTA Title bring her annual winnings to $12.4 million, including $300,000 from the WTA’s year-end bonus pool. Williams’ earnings total far outshines the previous single-season prize money record of $7.9 million set last year by Victoria Azarenka. No female athlete had earned $7 million in prize money during one year before Williams and Azarenka turned the trick in 2012. Williams has three of the four highest-earning seasons in WTA history and is the sport’s career top-earner with $53.9, which is 86% higher than her older sister Venus, who ranks second.