Serena crowned champion

Tennis WTA Championships

Serena crowned champion



The two Americans, facing each other across the net for the 22nd time in their glittering careers, provided nearly an hour and a half of power tennis under the Khalifa Stadium floodlights but there was only going to be one winner.

Serena, who came to Doha ranked second in the world behind Dinara Safina but will return home as the rightful number one after winning both the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles, broke serve twice in a one-sided first set.

Defending champion Venus did make more of a match of it in the second set but never got close to breaking the Serena serve that leaked just seven points in the entire match.
Serena pressed the accelerator in the tiebreak to build a 5-1 lead and although Venus clawed back three points, the 28-year-old completed victory with her fifth ace followed by a fizzing forehand into the extremity of the court.

"It's nice to finally win a tournament other than a grand slam," said the 11-times major champion who last won a title outside the season's big four in April 2008.
"We definitely weren't physically 100 percent out there today but it just shows you how much we try. Even in the second set, how hard we just both fought, especially Venus, she was getting every ball back.

"I've seen Venus return better, and I served well. I think I really did serve well."

Perfect week

Serena's perfect week earned her the maximum $1.5 million jackpot after she won all of her round-robin matches on her way to claiming the season-ending showpiece for the first time since her debut in 2001.

The only set she dropped during a week when she was head and shoulders above the elite field was against Venus in the round-robin stage.

Venus, at 29 the oldest woman in the eight-player draw, had spent nearly 11 hours on court in oppressive heat and humidity to reach the final with all three of her group matches, two of which she lost, and her semi-final going the distance.

Easy ride

She refused to blame injuries or the fact she had a tough fight against Jelena Jankovic the day before while Serena had an easy ride when Caroline Wozniacki pulled out injured after just one set of their semi-final.
"I've been playing for a long time. I'm not going to be the one to say, 'Oh, I played forever yesterday'. You have to show up and play no matter what. That really has nothing to do with it.

"I just made a slow start and although I served better in the second set I didn't serve as well as I wanted to."
Both players wore substantial strappings on their legs but whereas Venus looked weary, Serena seemed full of energy as she kept her sister on the back foot.

The crowd, easily the biggest of the week, willed Venus to lift her game in the second and she raised her level sufficiently to keep Serena at bay but it was not enough to give the tournament the kind of finale the WTA had hoped for. Meanwhile, Serena has withdrawn from US Fed Cup team for next week's final against Italy in Calabria, the USTA said on Saturday.

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