Monday, November 5, 2012

Tennis: Serena rounds off dominant year

After arguably her greatest year yet on the WTA tour, Serena Williams heads into the off-season in full knowledge that 2013 could yield as much success as 2012 as her dominance goes from strength to strength.

Williams capped off a career-defining season in style at the WTA Championships last month: rampaging to the final in Istanbul before powerfully dismantling Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-3 to claim the title.

Her superb set of results and scores and domination over the world’s top-eight was not unexpected and her performances come at the end of a season that saw the American breeze through major tournaments.

A decade on since her three-Grand Slam haul at the age of just 21, the right-hander took the tennis world by storm this summer, overcoming failure at the French Open to take Wimbledon, New York and the Olympic Games in style. The merciless nature of her 6-0 6-1 victory over Sharapova on Centre Court during London 2012 was simply staggering and proved there is as much life in her 31-year-old legs as when she stood with her maiden Wimbledon title in 2002.

The 15-time Grand Slam champion has not just cemented her place in the history books this year, for Williams has also showed no signs of slowing down. Her hard-court triumphs at New York and Istanbul make her overwhelming favourite in the sport betting for Melbourne in January and with Williams on this kind of form, who can stop her?

It was thought Australia’s 2012 champion Victoria Azarenka would put up more of a fight in Istanbul but fell 6-4 6-4 to Williams’ immense serve, while Sharapova’s 2-10 record against her adversary means the Russian will be underdog if the pair meet in Melbourne.
No, there are few in the game capable of beating Williams and even these top-ranked players will have a tough time doing so next year. 

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