Singapore: Maria Sharapova`s final match of the year was a bittersweet moment for the Russian ace. She beat Poland`s Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5 6-7(4) 6-2 in an enthralling match at the WTA Finals that encapsulated the best and worst of her game.
Her worst came in the second set when she threw away her last chance of winning the tournament and finishing the year ranked number one in the world, a feat that has eluded her throughout her illustrious career.
Needing to win in straight sets to reach the semi-finals, she blew three match points and a 5-1 lead with a series of catastrophic errors, dumping shots into the net and spraying others wide of the lines.
She conceded the set on a double-fault, and with it the chance to go any further in the lucrative end-of-season event.
But Sharapova saved her best for last. With seemingly little to play for after an exhausting week, she summoned up the energy for the final set and fought back to win, celebrating her victory like she`d won the championship.
"That`s the philosophy that I have," she told a news conference in Singapore`s Indoor Stadium.
"It would`ve been very easy for me to get down on myself. I had so many chances being up, having match point, and just saying you know what? I`ve lost two matches. Just so easy to just let it go but I didn`t.
"I got the job done. I know I`m not moving forward, but I`m proud of that effort and to finish the year off on this way."
Sharapova said she had no regrets at missing out on the semi-finals or her chance at finishing number one after a year in which she won the French Open for a second time.
More importantly, she said, her body held up for the whole year, a rarity for a woman who has been plagued by shoulder problems.
"I`m happy to be sitting here and saying that I`ve added another Grand Slam to my resume, that I`ve won great titles, I had a great clay court season, and a lot of good wins," she said.
For Sharapova, her exit from the WTA Finals did bring some relief as it meant an early start to her off-season break. She said she planned to take a quick trip to Japan for a business commitment then back to her home in Florida.
She plans to catch up with her boyfriend, Grigor Dimitrov, but has no plans to even think about tennis, let alone get back on the practice court.
"I`m very good at it, too. I`m a pro. I don`t even travel with my racquets. It`s such a nice feeling," she said.
"I`ll be signing my racquets tonight and, I don`t know, throwing them in the bay or give them to charity."