To say Serena Williams’ year has been a winning one would be an understatement. Yesterday during the WTA Championships, held in Istanbul, Williams defeated Maria Sharapova, 6-4, 6-3, in the final. Williams had only 14 unforced errors and did not allow Sharapova a break-point opportunity.

“Now that I can be honest, I really wanted to win and win this title and put a little pressure on myself,” Williams said in her post-match news conference. “Yeah, I wanted it so bad, but I didn’t want to say it. I’m really excited that I was able to win it.”

Williams added: “I was like a heavy favorite going in to win this title, so for me it was really important. I mean, for my own sanity, so to say. I really wanted it, even though I didn’t need it. Like I don’t think I needed to do anything else this year — or any other year — but I really wanted to end on a good note.”

Williams ended the year with a 59-4 record and seven titles. Since her first-round loss at the French Open, she is 31-1, winning Wimbledon, the Olympic gold medal, the U.S. Open as well as the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.

The 31-year-old became the oldest player to take the year-end championships. She will finish the year ranked No. 3, behind No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and No. 2 Sharapova, because she did not play as well in the first half of the year. Azarenka lost to Sharapova in the semifinals.

“I had such a good year, it was important to end on a good note,” Williams said. “It was good for my sanity to win. I really wanted it although I didn’t need it.”

In 2001 and ’09, Williams also won the elite, year-end tournament that brings together the world’s top eight players.

Congratulations, Serena!

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