Williams reaps benefits as her rivals slip up

Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:54am EDT
 
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By Julian Linden

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - With a little help from her rivals, Serena Williams secured a place in the last four of the WTA Finals on Friday and clinched the year-end number one ranking for the fourth time in her illustrious career.

The American was not involved in Friday's final group matches but still emerged as the big winner after Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic both bowed out of the tournament despite winning their final matches.

Sharapova, who needed to go on and win the season-ending event to overtake Williams at the top of the rankings, had to beat Poland's Agnieska Radwanska in straight sets to reach the semis but blew her chance after a second set meltdown.

She squandered three match points and a 5-2 lead to lose the second set in a tiebreak, and although the Russian recovered to win the match 7-5 6-7(4) 6-2, she failed to make it out of the round-robin stage of the elite eight-woman event.

"It would've been very easy for me to get down on myself. I had so many chances being up, having match point, and just saying you know what? I've lost two matches," said Sharapova.

"(It would have been) so easy to just let it go but I didn't.

"I got the job done. I know I'm not moving forward, but I'm proud of that effort and to finish the year off on this way."

Williams, who won two of her three group matches, faced another anxious wait before knowing whether she would play on the weekend.   Continued...

 
Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates her win over Eugenie Bouchard of Canada during their WTA Finals singles tennis match at the Singapore Indoor Stadium October 23, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su