Serena caps season with WTA crown
Tennis: The way the season has gone for Serena Williams, there was only one fitting way for it to end.
Williams capped a career year in style Sunday, earning her 11th title by coming from behind to beat Li Na 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in Istanbul for her second straight WTA Championships crown.
Williams became the eighth woman to win 11 or more titles in a year and the first since Martina Hingis had 12 in 1997. The American also is the first to repeat as champion at the season-ending WTA Championships since Justine Henin in 2007.
“It was an awesome year of tennis,” said Williams, who sank to her knees after firing a backhand winner on her second match point.
The victory brought Williams’ prize money total for the year to $12,385,572. The only player, male or female, to earn more in a year was Novak Djokovic with $12,803,737 in 2012 and $12,619,803 in 2011.
Williams won the event for the fourth time, having captured the elite tournament for the top eight players also in her debut in 2001 and in 2009 and 2012.
Williams has won 78 of 82 matches this year and will finish the year as the top-ranked player for the third time in her career after 2002 and 2009. Williams’ titles this year included the French Open and U.S. Open for a total of 17 Grand Slam crowns. Her winning percentage of .951 is the best on the tour since 1990. Martina Navratilova had an 86-1 record and a .989 percentage in 1983.
Li was in her first WTA Championships final and will finish the year at a career-high No. 3.
The Chinese player was quick to break serve for a 2-1 lead and rolled through the first set, which ended with Williams netting a forehand and hitting a backhand passing shot wide.
Li, the 2011 French Open champion, fell to 1-10 against Williams. She lost a set at 6-0 for the second straight time they played. She won only three games in her loss to Williams in the semifinals of the U.S. Open.
“I have a little bit bad taste, because it’s at love, but I still feel more positive things,” Li said.
After three years in Istanbul, the tournament moves to Singapore for the next five years.
• Del Potro betters Federer at Swiss Indoors: Juan Martin del Potro denied Roger Federer his hometown Swiss Indoors title for the second straight year, winning the final 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-4 in Basel, Switzerland.
The top-seeded Argentine clinched the title when Federer, a five-time champion at Basel, could not return a tough forehand.
Still, the sixth-ranked Swiss star edged closer to securing his place in the eight-man lineup at the ATP World Tour Finals in London starting next week.
Del Potro earned his fourth title this season, all on hard courts.
• Youzhny tops Ferrer for Valencia Open title: Mikhail Youzhny claimed his 10th career title by beating top-seeded David Ferrer 6-3, 7-5 to win the Valencia (Spain) Open.
The 31-year-old Russian dominated the No. 3-ranked Ferrer throughout, breaking the defending champion and local favorite four times on the indoor hard court.
Lightning slip past Panthers in shootout
NHL: Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula both scored in the shootout to give Tampa Lightning a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Fla.
Stamkos, Radko Gudas, and Martin St. Louis all scored in regulation for Tampa Bay. Anders Lindback stopped 29 shots and turned aside three of four Florida shooters in the tiebreaker.
• Ducks edge Blue Jackets: Corey Perry scored with 2:25 left in the third period and the Anaheim Ducks edged the Blue Jackets 4-3 in Columbus, Ohio.
The Ducks lost Saku Koivu in the second period on a hit that resulted in the ejection of Columbus’ Brandon Dubinsky.
• Avs defeat Jets: Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist in the third period and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in Denver.
Colorado, led by first-year coach Patrick Roy, is 10-1 for the first time in franchise history,
• Islanders deal for Vanek: The New York Islanders acquired forward Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres for forward Matt Moulson, a first-round pick in 2014 and a second-round pick in 2015.
Mauney claims PBR world championship
Bull riding: J.B. Mauney won his first Professional Bull Riders championship, earning $1 million for the season points title and another $250,000 for topping the six-round PBR World Finals in Las Vegas.
The Mooresville, N.C., rider wrapped up the season title by winning the fifth round with a 91-point ride on Harlem Shake. He finished the season with earnings of $1,810,711.
Mauney was the lone rider to have six successful rides, the last a winning 93 on Wipeout in the championship round. He is the only finals competitor to ride all six bulls twice, a feat he first accomplished in 2009.
Two-time defending world champion Silvano Alves of Brazil finished second in the world title race, 977.75 points behind Mauney. Alves also was second in the event aggregate.
Shane Proctor (Coulee Dam) finished 10th at the finals and ninth in the world title race.
Ligety earns victory at World Cup opener
Skiing: Ted Ligety maintained his dominance in giant slalom by taking the season-opening World Cup race in Soelden, Austria, by a 0.79-second winning margin, while Bode Miller finished 19th upon his return following a 20-month injury layoff.
Ligety held on to his massive 0.90-second first-run lead to finish in an aggregate 1 minute, 59.50 seconds.
France’s Alexis Pinturault was second, and overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria was third.
U.S. women handle New Zealand
Soccer: Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Christen Press and Heather O’Reilly scored to help the U.S. women’s team beat New Zealand 4-1 in an exhibition match at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
Hannah Wilkinson scored for New Zealand.
The Americans improved to 12-0-2 this year. They extended their overall unbeaten streak to 37 games and their home unbeaten streak to 75.