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Williams wins season-ending WTA Championships

The way the season has gone for Serena Williams, there was only one fitting way for it to end.

The American capped a career year in style Sunday, earning her 11th title by rallying to beat Li Na of China 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 for her second consecutive WTA Championships title in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Williams became the eighth woman to win 11 or more tournaments in a year and the first since Martina Hingis of Switzerland had 12 in 1997. Williams is the first to repeat as champion at the season-ending WTA Championships since Justine Henin of Belgium 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 of Serbia with $12,803,737 in 2012 and $12,619,803 in 2011.

Williams, 32, is 78-4 this season and will finish the year ranked No. 1 for the third time in her career; she also accomplished the feat in 2002 and 2009.

Li, 31, will finish the year at a career-high No. 3. She has a 1-10 record against Williams.

The final featured two players above the age of 30 for the first time in the tournament’s 43-year history.


Ligety starts with a victory

Ted Ligety dominated again. Bode Miller returned from 20 months off with a solid performance. And unheralded Tim Jitloff showed potential.

The U.S. men’s team made a strong showing in the season-opening World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria.

Ligety, who is from Park City, Utah, won the opener for the third year in a row.

Miller, from Franconia, N.H., finished 19th despite starting outside the top 30 and Jitloff, who is from Reno, Nev., was 20th but would have been higher if not for a big mistake in his second run.

Ligety won by 0.79 seconds over runner-up Alexis Pinturault of France. Austrian Marcel Hirscher, the two-time defending overall World Cup champion, finished third.

“This is always a hill that suits me well because you don’t have to think about tactics too much because there is not so much terrain to it,” Ligety said. “So you can just charge and trust your skiing.”

Miller, who took last season off to recover from knee surgery, lost about 30 pounds during his layoff. At 36, he was the second-oldest skier in the field of 80.

“I’m right there. … I’m not too old to win,” Miller said.

Jitloff, who won two GS races on the second-tier Europa Cup last season, was hurt by an error at the start of his second leg.

“With that kind of mistake, still being 20th is not bad,” Jitloff said. “But I know I’m fast enough right now to be in the top 10.”


San Jose keeps league lead5

Alex Stalock stopped 38 shots in his first NHL start to help the league-leading San Jose Sharks beat host Ottawa 5-2.

Stalock, 26, made 16 saves in the first period as San Jose took a 3-1 lead despite being outshot 17-12 by the Senators. The Sharks (10-1-1) have a game left on a five-game trip.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche beat visiting Winnipeg 3-2 to improve to 10-1-0.

Bull riding

Mauney captures PBR title

J.B. Mauney of Mooresville, N.C., won his first Professional Bull Riders championship, earning a $1 million bonus for the season points title and another $250,000 for topping the six-round PBR World Finals in Las Vegas.

Brazilian Silvano Alves, a two-time defending champ, was second in the world-title race.

Bushwacker won the World Champion Bull Award for the second time in three years.

Horse racing

Joshua Tree wins in Canada

Joshua Tree won the Grade I Canadian International for the third time at Woodbine in Toronto.

Irish-bred Joshua Tree, a 6-year-old trained by Edward Dunlop and ridden by Ryan Moore, beat Hyper by three-quarters of a length.

Joshua Tree, who also won the event in 2010 and last year, ran 1½ miles on yielding turf in 2 minutes, 35.45 seconds. He paid $15.30 to win in the $957,566 race.

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