By Ros Satar, in Singapore

  • Caroline Wozniacki [6] def. Venus Williams [5] 6-4, 6-4
  • Gets first win over Williams in eight attempts
  • Biggest title of career
SINGAPORE – Caroline Wozniacki rounded out a solid year by claiming her biggest title to date after beating Venus Williams in straight sets in the WTA Finals.

 

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With probably the two most resurgent players this season taking to the court to contest the WTA Finals title match, we expected to see quality, and we were not disappointed from the first ball of

Caroline Wozniacki had set out her marker from the start of the tournament. She ripped through her first two round-robin matches for the loss of just four games and while many player talked of the ‘tricky’ and ‘slow’ court, Wozniacki summed it up as a court that favours the all-around player.

Just as impressive though had been the fight and grit of Venus Williams. She lost her opener, adjusted and taught young Jelena Ostapenko a bit of a lesson in patience and tenacity, and she really did not have to do too much to gain a small element of revenge over a flat Garbiñe Muguruza for the Wimbledon final.

Another three setter was in her future though, as she fought with the high-flying Caroline Garcia to end the bubbly Frenchwoman’s challenge and so set up a clash with her little sister’s best friend on the tour.

Indeed it was Wozniacki who broke first, but by now Williams was the expert in keeping calm and carrying on, breaking the Dane straight back. Another brace of breaks at the end of the set, but this time Wozniacki took her chance to break for a third time to seal the set.

The momentum now was firmly with the Dane – bidding for her first WTA Finals title, she jumped out to a 3-0 lead and it looked as though finally Williams was running out of steam. By now the Dane was cantering at quite a clip, her increased aggression and pep on her serve working to great effect not just on Sunday but throughout the entire tournament.

There was relief among the crowds who had come out to see if the great champion could cap a year that saw Williams reach a Grand Slam final for the first time since 2009, yet both times she fell short. She was able to redress the balance slightly, stopping the run of games against her at six, before breaking a suddenly edgy Wozniacki to inch a little closer to at least saving face.

Williams refused to be done, bringing the crowd to its feet with a great finishing shot of a rally that usually Wozniacki would have won a long time ago. From 0-5 down to 5-4, but that herculean effort may have been her last hurrah, as a couple of wild forehands brought up match point for the Dane. Williams saved the first, but it was ultimately a winner from the Dane to bring her the biggest title in her career to date, 6-4, 6-4.

 


Williams’ comeback saw a sense of resolve in Wozniacki, as she explained after the match:

“I kind of felt like it was a little bit of an uphill battle, to be honest. I knew she was stepping it up, she had nothing to lose at that point, and she really went for it. Things were going in for her.

“She started mixing up the serve a little bit more. I kind of, yeah, felt I had to try and stay aggressive. But at the same time, you know, I just have to hope that it’s going to go my way now. And obviously the crowd was starting to get into it and rooting her on obviously because they wanted a longer match.

“I just had to keep reminding myself that I’m still up and I’m the one who is leading here, and I’m the one who can close out this match right now.”

She continued: “Obviously Venus is a great champion, just like her sister, and I have so much respect for her. I knew that she was never going to give up, and I knew she was going to come back fighting strong.

“For me, it was just important to try and keep my head down and just focus on myself and what I needed to do and try and forget who is on the other side of the net.”

 

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