Williams on verge of year-end No. 1 ranking

Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:31am EDT
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By Julian Linden

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Serena Williams was on the verge of clinching the year-end world number one ranking for the fourth time on Thursday after Maria Sharapova, the only woman with any chance of overtaking her, lost for the second time at the WTA Finals.

Sharapova was beaten 6-3 6-2 by Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at Singapore's Indoor Stadium, leaving her with only a slim chance of leapfrogging Williams for the top spot.

The Russian needs to win the tournament and rely on Williams bowing out before the final to take the top spot, but the odds are now heavily stacked against her.

Even if Sharapova wins her final group match against Agnieszka Radwanska on Friday, she needs a slice of luck just to make the semi-finals.

Sharapova would have to beat Radwanska in straight sets and rely on Carolina Wozniacki defeating Kvitova in straight sets, but she said she was not looking beyond her final group match.

"Since we don't play the round robin format very often, my mindset is very similar to any other match: go out and try to win it," she said.

"I know I lost the previous match, and I wanted to go out and do the best that I could today; just didn't happen.

"I still have a match ahead of me, and I will do my best to finish it on a good note. That's the only thing I can ask of myself."   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. acknowledges the crowd after defeating Eugenie Bouchard of Canada during their WTA Finals singles tennis match at the Singapore Indoor Stadium October 23, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su