Sports Shorts

Serena Williams, oldest No. 1 in WTA history, earns fifth player of the year award

Serena Williams has warned the rest of women’s tennis there is more to come after she was named WTA player of the year for the second year running, and the fifth time overall. Williams enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in WTA history: She won 78 of 82 matches, the U.S. Open and French Open among 11 titles, and a record $12,385,572 in prize money. Since February, she’s been the oldest No. 1 in WTA history. She’s now 32. “I have some areas where I can do a lot better for next year and I look forward to it,” she says. “Overall I’ll remember the wins, but I also want to learn from my mistakes so I don’t repeat them.” Williams was also player of the year in 2002, ‘08, ‘09 and ‘12.

Kiwis pip England in epic rugby world semi

New Zealand broke England hearts with a last-gasp converted try to edge their gripping Rugby League World Cup semifinal 20-18 at Wembley Stadium yesterday. Tournament co-host England was 30 seconds from reaching the final until Kiwis halfback Shaun Johnson slipped his counterpart Kevin Sinfield and wrong-footed last defender George Burgess to dive across the line and make it 18-18. Johnson also made the conversion, his fourth goal of the game, and punched the air before he was swamped by teammates. “I was always confident (of winning) if we gave ourselves an opportunity, and with two minutes to go we did,” Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney said. New Zealand, the defending champion, will play Australia, which mutilated Fiji 64-0 in yesterday’s other semifinal, in the final next Saturday at Old Trafford.

Patched-up Aussies beat Scots on rugby tour

Australia shrugged off a troubled build-up and the absence of a string of key players to scrape past Scotland 21-15 for the third straight victory of its end-of-season European rugby tour yesterday. The Wallabies’ patched-up backline scored tries through fullback Israel Folau in the first half and winger Chris Feauai-Sautia at the start of the second, with Christian Leali’ifano booting the rest of the points at Murrayfield. The Scots, looking for a third successive win over Australia, were only 13-12 behind at halftime thanks to Greig Laidlaw’s unforgiving boot and were never more than a converted try in arrears after the break. But a familiar lack of cutting edge out wide proved their undoing.