Serena ends WTA season in style
Williams beats Sharapova in tour championship
Serena Williams brushed aside Maria Sharapova in straight sets Sunday to claim the season-ending WTA Tour Championship in Istanbul.
Williams has looked unbeatable from the moment she struck her first shot in anger at the Sinan Erdem Dome in the Turkish capital and so it proved again in the final as she triumphed 6-4 6-3.
Sharapova, who beat World No.1 Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals, put up a brave fight, but was outgunned by the 31-year-old American.
The Russian World No.2 did not force a single break point as Williams again served superbly and came under constant pressure on her own delivery.
A single break was enough for Williams to take the first set, finished with a flurry of aces as she served at 5-4 and an early break put her ahead in the second.
Sharapova, who won the French Open to highlight her 2012, bravely stayed in the contest by clinging on to her service, but at 3-5 down she cracked again.
Crunching ground strokes set up two championship points, finished with an explosive forehand as Williams claimed the WTA Championships for the third time.
Azarenka clinched the season-ending ranking by reaching the semifinals, but on current form Williams will return to the top of the rankings early in 2013.
"I made a little bit of a slow start to 2012," she told Eurosport after her Istanbul romp.
"There's always 2013 and I'm looking forward to it," she added ominously for the opponents at the elite end of the women's game.
Since mid-summer she has claimed the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles before coming out on top in the WTA Tour's finale, despite having not played since her Flushing Meadows triumph.
With golds in the Olympic singles and doubles, with sister Venus, at the London Games, it has proved a glorious finish to the year.
Meanwhile, Juan Martin del Potro shocked World No.1 and home favorite Roger Federer in the final of the ATP tournament in Basel.
The Argentine did not drop his service throughout the three-set match to deny the Swiss maestro a sixth title at the hard court tournament.
He emerged a 6-4 6-7 7-6 winner after two hours and 44 minutes to claim back to back titles after winning in Vienna the previous week.
Defeat for Federer puts him under further pressure from Novak Djokovic to end the year in top spot, having to defend both his Paris Masters and ATP Tour Finals titles in successive weeks.
"This is a great win for me, a dream," del Potro said at the trophy presentation.
"It's an honor to be on the court with Roger, who is the greatest of all time, it's great to share this moment with him."
Top seed David Ferrer won the Valencia Open title with a 6-1 3-6 6-4 victory over Aleksandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine.
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