ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday to win the WTA Championships for the third time and finish the year with another title - but not the top ranking. Nick Leddy Jersey
. "Now that I can be honest, I really wanted to win," Williams said. "I wanted it so bad but I didnt want to say it ... It was really important for me to end the year with this title in particular." Williams ended the year with a 59-4 record. Since her first-round loss at the French Open, the American is 31-1, winning Wimbledon, the Olympic gold medal and the U.S. Open. But she will finish the year ranked No. 3, behind Sharapova, because she did not pay as well in the first half of the year. "I had such a good year, it was important to end on a good note. it was good for my sanity to win," Williams said. "I really wanted it although I didnt need it." Victoria Azarenka, beaten by Sharapova in the semifinals, ended the year as the top-player in the world. In 2001 and 09 Williams also won the elite, year-end tournament that brings together the top eight players in the world. Williams raced forward to reach a drop shot and put away a passing-shot winner but the seventh game still went to Sharapova after five deuces. But the American was pumping her fist and there was no holding her back as Williams closed out the set with an ace - one of 11 she had in the match. "Today she had another great serving day against me," said Sharapova, who never had a break point. Williams broke Sharapovas serve to start the second and was never really threatened again. Williams hit a powerful return on her first match point. She finished with 40 winners, compared to Sharapovas 13. Williams finished the tournament without dropping a set and she also beat Azarenka in round-robin play, one of her four wins against the No. 1 this year. "If Im playing well and doing everything right, Its pretty difficult to beat me, without trying to sound too full of myself," Williams said. "And I hate to lose." The American has won 12 straight against opponents ranked No. 1 or No. 2 and has not lost to a player ranked in the top 2 since 2007. Williams also became the oldest player, at age 31, to win the year-end championships and has seven titles this year. But because she did not play as well at the start of the year following injuries and illness, Williams will have to settle for the No. 3 ranking despite dominating the tour in the past few months. Shortly after winning Wimbledon two years ago, Williams cut her feet on glass at a restaurant, leading to a series of health problems, including being hospitalized for clots in her lungs. She also injured her ankle at the start of the year in Brisbane. Williams last finished the year as No. 1 in 2009. She has held the No. 1 ranking for a total of 123 weeks. Dave Bolland jersey
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. Guillen was fired after only one year with the team, undone by too many losses and one too many ill-advised remarks. A promising season began to derail in April with his laudatory comments about Cubas former leader.SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah general manager Dennis Lindsey said the Jazz had plenty of opportunities to make a deal before Thursdays trading deadline. "We just said, No," Lindsey said. His comments came a few hours after the deadline passed without the Jazz dealing either power forward Paul Millsap or centre Al Jefferson, leaving intact a team that is seven games above .500 entering the stretch run toward the playoffs. Lindsey said when any offer was added up, "It wasnt any better than what we had" as the team looked with an eye toward the future. Lindsey called the Jazz "playoff competitive" just not "championship calibre." Yet. Millsap and Jefferson had been considered trade bait because of their expiring contracts. The team has five other players with expiring contracts, plus estranged shooting guard Raja Bell, who has not been with the squad all season after battling last year with head coach Tyrone Corbin. The 6-foot-8 Millsap was considered the most expendable, not because he wasnt producing but because third-year pro Derrick Favours is waiting in the wings. Millsap has started all 55 games for the Jazz this season, averaging 15 points and 7.4 rebounds. Favours, 21, is averaging 9.4 points and 6.2 rebounds and is the teams top shot-blocker with 70. Lindsey cited a quote by another Jazz exec, Kevin OConnor. "When they say you should make a trade is probably when you shouldnt," Lindsey said. "Were not here to win a press conference." And he didnt want to do a deal just to say he did a deal in his first season as Jazz GM. "We decided the incumbent position was the strongest now and going forward," Lindsey said. "Well see if were right or wrong." The Jazz certainly had options Thursday, and will have even mmore this summer though they risk losing both Millsap and Jefferson. Marian Hossa Jersey
. Jeffersons contract this season pays him $15 million, and he is considered one of the elite big men in the league. How much more could he earn on the open market? A bigger question for the Jazz is whether his backup, 20-year-old Enes Kanter, is ready to fill his shoes. Jefferson, 28, leads the Jazz in scoring (17.7 points) and rebounding (9.4). Kanter is averaging 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 14 minutes. Lindsey said the team didnt really have that many "tough" trade decisions. This summer may be a different story. Utah has only $25 million committed toward salaries next season. That includes a team option on seldom-used rookie Kevin Murphy and a $7.5 million player option for small forward Marvin Williams. Point guard Mo Williams, out since late December with a thumb injury, can take a deep breath for now. But he also is a free agent after the season. Corbin said earlier this week that he loves every player with the team, calling them "Utah Jazz kind of players." Utah has won three straight and 12 of its last 17 to pull within percentage points of sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race behind Golden State. The Jazz held it together despite being without Mo Williams for nearly two months. Playmaker Gordon Hayward only returned Tuesday after missing 10 games with a sprained right shoulder. Guard Randy Foye, who has helped Utah with his 3-point shooting, said the team believes it can reach the No. 4 spot in the West and gain home-court advantage in the playoffs. Lindsey can only hope. "We have a strong group, with chemistry thats getting stronger," Lindsey said. "Weve got to take it to another level competitively." ' ' '