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2013 Season In Review: Part V

Serena Williams produced the most remarkable finish to the most remarkable of seasons to stun Li Na and defend her WTA Championships title.

Published November 15, 2013 12:02

2013 Season In Review: Part V
Serena Williams

The last few months of 2013 witnessed the coming of age of a few of the tour's brightest talents as well as the re-emergence of a few familiar faces. However, inevitably, it was the irrepressible Serena Williams who had the final say.

With a number of big names taking a well-earned break in the weeks following the US Open, the stage was clear for the WTA's up-and-coming stars to shine, with Bojana Jovanovski and Zhang Shuai obliging with victories at the International events in Tashkent and Guangzhou.

Up at Premier level, there was also success for Petra Kvitova, who walked away with the spoils in Tokyo. Meanwhile, at the final Mandatory event of the year, the China Open, Williams continued to dominate, romping home to the title without dropping a set.

Meanwhile over in the indoor arenas of Europe there were titles for Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki, in Linz and Luxembourg, while Simona Halep's increasingly cramped mantelpiece continued to fill up following victories at Moscow and the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofia.

In doubles, the standout pairing was Cara Black and Sania Mirza, whose late season run brought titles in Tokyo and Beijing, but came too late to see them sneak into the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul.

Instead, it was Peng Shuai and Hsieh Su-Wei who took top honors in Turkey, seeing off Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the final.

The singles in Istanbul, as with most of the big events in 2013, was all about Williams, although it was far from straightforward.

After waltzing through the round robin, the effects of the American's marathon season suddenly appeared to be catching up with her during an energy-sapping semifinal win over Jelena Jankovic.

In the final against Li Na, Williams struggled to find her usual spark around the court and was left swinging from the hip in a battle to stay afloat. Somehow she blanked out her obvious discomfort to produce the most remarkable finish to the most remarkable of seasons, reeling off the final nine games to triumph, 26 63 60.

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