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Williams Caps 2012 With WTA Championships Title; Del Potro Wins

Serena Williams fired 40 winners to beat Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 and secure her third title at the season-ending WTA Championships.

Williams of the U.S. struck 26 more winners than Sharapova of Russia and didn’t face a break point in Istanbul yesterday on her way to winning a WTA-leading seventh singles titles in 2012.

“I feel great right now,” Williams said in comments distributed by the WTA. “This was exactly my dream and I’m so happy I was able to achieve it.”

At 31, Williams is the oldest winner of the 41-year-old tournament. Her 2012 victories included a straight-set win against Sharapova in the gold-medal match at the London Olympics and she also won the Wimbledon and the U.S. Open to lift her tally of Grand Slam singles championships to 15.

She finishes the season with a 58-4 singles record and more than $7 million in prize money including doubles and mixed doubles. Her haul of seven singles titles is the second-best of her career after winning eight 10 years ago.

Yesterday’s victory was her ninth straight against Sharapova since losing to the 25-year-old in the final of the 2004 Tour Championships. Sharapova and Williams will stay at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the post-tournament rankings.

Roger Federer, the top-ranked men’s player, lost to Juan Martin del Potro in yesterday’s Swiss Indoors final in Basel.

Del Potro, who won last week’s Erste Bank Open in Vienna, defeated Federer 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-3) in the Swiss player’s home town. The 24-year-old Argentine had lost all six of his previous matches against Federer, 31, this season.

Del Potro, the tournament’s second seed, broke in the fifth game on his way to taking the opening set. Both players were unable to convert break opportunities in the second set, forcing a tiebreaker that Federer won.

Del Potro saved four break points in the decider, in the third and seventh games. Federer then recovered from 15-30 down in the final game with three aces to force another tiebreaker, where Del Potro came out on top.

Federer was playing in the final for the seventh straight year and had won the title five times.

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