Whatever the outcome of Sunday’s final at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships between top seeded Serena Williams (Player Profile) and 4th seeded Na Li (Player Profile), history would be made. In keeping with the trend for the ‘older’ players to be playing their best tennis, this was the first time that two players over the age of 30 vied for the title. Serena became the oldest player to win this championship last year at 31 and one month, so whoever won would better that record. For Li to create another record at this tournament – she became the highest ranked Asian tennis player of either sex when she won her semi final match – should she win she would become the first over 30s player to beat Williams since 2009. Williams had beaten Li nine times with Li having won only once – back in Stuttgart in 2008.
The first break came in the 3th game of the first set when Li went 2-1 up after just eleven minutes. She then held, broke and held again to go 5-1 up. Serving to stay in the set, Williams got to advantage twice before she held to force Li to serve out the set, which she did at 6-2 in thirty six minutes. Even though the American got 72% of her first serves in, she only won the point on 61% of them, whereas Li’s stat was am unbelievable 100%.
Williams started the second set and it took her 14 minutes to eventually hold her serve. She then worked hard to take the next two games before Li got on the scoreboard. Li then broke and held to level at 3-3 and get back on serve. Williams took the next two games and another very long game ensued before she took the set 6-3.
Li got the decider underway and they played yet another very long game before Williams got the break and she raced away to take the set to love in a match that lasted two hours and nine minutes.