Samantha Stosur is taking comfort from a strong finish to a her tough season after signing off 2013 in a third consecutive tournament final.
Fast-rising Romanian Simona Halep again proved Stosur’s nemesis, defeating her 2-6 6-2 6-2 in the title decider at the season-ending Tournament of Champions in Sofia.
Stosur, Australia’s former world No.4, will finish with a year-end ranking of 18 – the first time in three years she’s ended outside the top 10.
The 2011 US Open winner’s grand slam season was a disappointment – Australian Open (2nd round), French Open (3rd round), Wimbledon (3rd round) and US Open (1st round).
But she signed off the year in style by making three straight finals, winning in Osaka before losing deciders to 22-year-old Halep in both Moscow and Sofia.
Stosur’s title in Osaka was her second of the year – and fifth of her career – having also upset Victoria Azarenka in the final in Carlsbad in early August.
Her recent conqueror Halep has become one of the form players on tour, claiming her sixth title of the season and is set to finish the year as world No.11.
Stosur was looking forward to heading home to Australia for a well-earned holiday before resuming fitness training and beginning to gear up for the Australian summer season to start 2014.
“Congrats to Simona on playing a great final,” Stosur said. “She’s a very good player. She’s improved a lot.
“She got me a couple of weeks ago in Moscow, and again it was very hard today – but I’m happy with the week I had.
“Now I’ll take a break and then think about next season in a few weeks when I start training again.”