After the Top 8 players of 2017 battled each other for over a week in Singapore, Caroline Wozniacki stands on top of the mountain.
The No.6-seeded Dane moved past fifth seed Venus Williams of the United States, 6-4, 6-4, to claim the title at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global on Sunday. Wozniacki wins the WTA Finals for the first time, besting her runner-up finish in 2010.
Wozniacki had to survive a stirring comeback from Williams in the second set. “I’m still shaking,” Wozniacki said in her on-court interview after the match. “I was up 5-0, everything was going well, and all of a sudden, Venus just starts upping her game. She went for her shots, she started serving to my body, and I’m just so happy that I managed to win in the end.”
Not only did Wozniacki win the WTA Finals for the first time, but she also beat Williams for the first time in her career, after seven previous losses. “Eight is my lucky number!” the Dane enthused. “I was hoping that if I’m going to beat her, at least once in my career, it has to be today. I just went out there and I just did my best.”
Wozniacki played her exceptional mix of offense and defense to the hilt, hitting 19 winners to only eight unforced errors. Four of those winners were aces, extending her strong serving statistics she exhibited throughout the tournament.
Williams had a solid match as well, with 31 winners and a first serve percentage of 70 percent, but was unable to close out pivotal service games when she needed to at the end of both sets, and was broken two more times than Wozniacki, which was the difference.
“I think I got a lot of her serves back, and obviously she has a big first serve, but at the same time, I tried to keep pressure on her and tried to take a little bit of time away and stay a little bit closer to the baseline,” Wozniacki said during her post-match press conference. “It’s important for me to try and cut the angles and try and take the ball on the rise, and I think I did that pretty well.”
The first three games went to the server with ease, and it appeared that Williams would continue that trend, jumping to a 40-15 lead in her service game at 2-1. But strong hitting by the Dane, including a superb passing shot, brought the game to deuce, and Wozniacki broke for 3-1 with a forehand winner.
Williams, however, broke back in the very next game with exceptional hitting off the forehand side. But Wozniacki once again went up a break, sealing a 5-3 lead with consecutive down-the-line forehand winners. Again, though, Williams came up with quality tennis, hitting four straight down-the-line winners, two from each side, to get the match immediately back on serve.
Williams put up a spirited fight during the high-quality affair, capping a year where she reached the finals of Wimbledon and the Australian Open, as well as in Singapore. The American legend is projected to finish the year ranked in the Top 5 for the first time since 2010.
“[Wozniacki] played really well the whole match,” Williams told the media after the final. “You know, I played well parts of the match and tried my best.”
Meanwhile, Wozniacki is projected to finish the year ranked No.3, via a wonderful year in which she reached eight finals, and won two titles, including the Toray Pan Pacific Open to go alongside her WTA Finals trophy. Her heroics in Singapore also makes her the season leader in match wins (60) and Top 10 wins (13).