Her year filled with titles and trophies over, Serena Williams can at last admit it: This was a title the American was eyeing. Williams beat Russian Maria...

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Williams wins her 3rd title

at WTA Championships

Her year filled with titles and trophies over, Serena Williams can at last admit it: This was a title the American was eyeing.

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Williams beat Russian Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 Sunday in Istanbul, Turkey, to win the WTA Championships for the third time and finish the year with another title, but not the top ranking in the world.

“Now that I can be honest, I really wanted to win,” Williams said. “I wanted it so bad, but I didn’t want to say it … It was really important for me to end the year with this title in particular.”

Williams ended her season with a 59-4 record and seven titles. Since her first-round loss at the French Open, she is 31-1, winning Wimbledon, the Olympic singles gold medal and the U.S. Open.

The 31-year-old Williams became the oldest player to prevail at the year-end championships. But she will finish the year ranked No. 3 in the world, behind No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and No. 2 Sharapova, because she did not play as well in the first half of the year.

“I had such a good year, it was important to end on a good note,” Williams said. “It was good for my sanity to win. I really wanted it, although I didn’t need it.”

In 2001 and 2009, Williams also won the elite, season-ending tournament that brings together the world’s top eight players. She didn’t drop a set in this year’s event.

“If I’m playing well and doing everything right, it’s pretty difficult to beat me, without trying to sound too full of myself,” Williams said. “And I hate to lose.”

Del Potro beats Federer

Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina beat Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-3) in the Swiss Indoors final in Basel.

Federer had won the event in five of the past six years and entered with a 13-2 record in matches against del Potro.

“I didn’t play a good tiebreaker in the third and that was the story of the match,” Federer said.


Crew closes with a victory

Federico Higuain converted a penalty kick for his second goal of the match, giving the host Columbus Crew a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC in the Major League Soccer season finale for both teams. Neither qualified for the MLS playoffs.

Andrew Wiedeman scored Toronto’s goal in the 27th minute. Toronto was winless (0-10-4) in its final 14 games to finish with a 5-21-8 record and the fewest points in MLS.

Meanwhile, Laurent Courtois and Juan Agudelo of Chivas USA scored in second-half stoppage time in a 2-2 draw with host FC Dllas.

Chivas USA closed the season with a franchise-record winless streak of 14 matches. It was outscored 37-10 during the 0-10-4 finish, leaving it last in the Western Conference.

NBC, EPL have a deal

NBC Universal’s three-year deal with the English Premier League, which starts in 2013, will let the company televise up to 380 matches a season on the NBC broadcast network, the NBC Sports Network and at least two other cable networks.

NBC Universal reportedly will pay the EPL $80 million to $85 million annually.

“There will be live, exclusive games, and we’re not going to tape delay any of them,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports Group.

9-man Chelsea suffers loss

Host Chelsea, the English Premier League leader, had two players sent off in a 3-2 loss to Manchester United. Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres got red cards.

Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez scored the winning goal from what appeared to be an offside position.

Chelsea officials accused referee Mark Clattenburg of directing “inappropriate language” at two players and lodged a complaint.

Premier League referees wear microphones and their audio is usually heard by other match officials during games.


Ligety wins giant slalom

Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah, won the first men’s World Cup giant slalom of the season, beating Manfred Moelgg of Italy by a whopping margin of 2.75 seconds in Soelden, Austria.

Ligety had a two-run time of 2 minutes, 36.02 seconds.


• Team Sky officials said sports director Sean Yates, 52, has retired from professional cycling.

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