Serena Williams overcame a shaky start to power past Simona Halep and claim a fifth WTA Finals title in Singapore.
Many had suggested that Williams was a fading force after failing to reach the quarter-finals at the first three grand slams of the year, but she came roaring back to win a third consecutive US Open title and repeated that feat at the Finals with a 6-3 6-0 win on Sunday.
The triumph was all the remarkable given that Halep had cruised to a 6-0 6-2 win when the two women met in the pool stages of the tournament just four days ago.
Williams looked out of sorts in the opening game and a forehand into the net gave Halep a break point which was saved before a double-fault handed the Romanian another.
Williams’ serving power got her out of jail but Halep won her opening service game to love and looked the more in control of the two competitors.
And so it proved as the first break came in the next game with Halep earning two opportunities but only needing one of them as Williams found the net from the baseline.
A poor service game in the next handed some momentum back to the world number one and she broke back at the third time of asking after a lengthy battle.
Struggled for consistency
Williams held in the next and tried to whip up the crowd, and it seemed to work as she broke in game six to open up a 4-2 lead.
But the 18-time grand slam champion was still struggling to find consistency and a double fault handed Halep a break point which she took with a crunching forehand to get back on serve.
She could not hold in the next, though, banging her racquet into the ground in frustration on one shot that went into the net as she handed the initiative back to her opponent.
And Williams took advantage, letting out a scream of relief as much as joy when she claimed a rollercoaster first set.
A break in the first game of the second had Williams in the driving seat and Halep seemed to be running out of steam as the American held to apply the pressure.
Not only did Halep look to be crestfallen but Williams was finding her range and another break came with relative ease as the latter took a vice-like grip on the contest.
Williams sealed the next to love with an ace and powered through the final two games to end her season with an ultimately convincing win in just an hour and nine minutes.