Wozniacki ends Venus curse
Dane notches first win over American opponent in eight tries to land WTA Finals title
Until yesterday, Caroline Wozniacki had won only one set in seven agonising losses to Venus Williams.
But the 27-year-old Dane could not have chosen a better stage - the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global - to pull off her first triumph over the 37-year-old American and biggest career win to date.
At the Singapore Indoor Stadium yesterday, No. 6 seed Wozniacki beat Williams, seeded fifth, 6-4, 6-4 in 89 minutes, in a battle between two former world No. 1s.
"It's been an amazing year. Last year was tough with injuries and all that, but just standing here and winning this title means a lot to me," said Wozniacki, who was runner-up to Kim Clijsters in the 2010 edition.
Williams certainly had the upper hand entering the final.
She had beaten Wozniacki in straight sets in six of their seven previous meetings.
Also, Williams won the championship match in 2008 - the last time the title tie did not feature a player seeded in the top four - when she beat No. 8 seed Vera Zvonareva 6-7(5/7), 6-0, 6-2.
CROWD CHEERS VENUS ON
But Wozniacki was dominant from the get-go and never looked back after breaking Williams to lead 3-1.
After winning the first set 6-4, world No. 6 Wozniacki took her rich vein of form into the second set and won five consecutive games.
Williams, however, would not give up without a fight.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion slowly clawed her way back into the tie, the crowd cheering louder with each set the American won.
But Wozniacki held out in the end, hitting the winner down Williams' right flank after the American had approached the net, before tossing her racket in victory.
"I tried my best, it did seem like I came up with my best tennis when it was too late," said Williams, who made 32 unforced errors to Wozniacki's eight last night.
"I will try to play a little better earlier the next time."
On what went through her mind during Williams' second-set comeback, Wozniacki said: "I felt like it was a little bit of an uphill battle, to be honest.
"I knew she was stepping it up, she had nothing to lose at that point and she really went for it. Things were going in for her.
"She started mixing up the serve a little bit more. I felt I had to try and stay aggressive. But, at the same time, I just had to hope that it was going to go my way now.
"I just had to keep reminding myself that I was still up and I was the one who was leading, and I was the one who could close out this match right now."
The title win was a culmination of a dominant all-round performance from Wozniacki during the tournament - she won three of her four matches in straight sets, including a 6-0, 6-2 victory over world No. 1 Simona Halep in the group stage.
Wozniacki said: "I served pretty well most of the tournament. I moved really well.
"I went from offence to defence really well... I managed to stay aggressive.
"Even when I was playing against the big-hitters, I still managed to not be pushed too far behind the baseline, which was key this week."
Asked if she felt she had returned to top form, she said: "Yeah, I played really well this week, played great tennis, and I'm proud of being here as the winner of the tournament."
Meanwhile, in an earlier match yesterday, Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova beat the pair of Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 to win the doubles title.