World No. 1 Serena Williams clinched the 2013 Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s title Saturday night with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Li Na in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Williams, the defending US Open champion, will now compete for the largest payout in tennis history at the 2013 US Open -- $3.6 million ($2.6 million for winning the US Open and a $1 million bonus for winning the US Open as Emirates Airline US Open Series champion).
With her win over Li, Williams increased her Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge
women’s standings points total to 170 and now outpaces all possible challengers at next week’s season-ending tournament, the New Haven Open at Yale. The women’s second- and third-place finishers in this year’s bonus challenge have yet to be determined.
Williams becomes the only woman to win the Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge twice, having also won the title in 2011. That year, she earned a total $1.4 million by advancing to the US Open final.
John Isner can clinch the 2013 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s title on Sunday if he wins the Western & Southern Open title over Rafael Nadal. The men’s winner of the Emirates Airline US Open Series will also compete for $1 million in bonus prize money at the 2013 US Open. The second- and third-place finishers on the men’s and women’s sides will compete for $500,000 and $250,000, respectively.
The Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge has resulted in some of the largest paychecks in tennis history for men ($2.4 million, Roger Federer, 2007) and women ($2.2 million, Kim Clijsters, 2005 and 2010).
Now in its 10th season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard-court tennis, linking nine summer tournaments to the US Open. More than 200 of the game’s top players are competing during the Series for more than $50 million in prize money. Additionally, through the Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge, the USTA will offer up to an additional $2.6 million in bonus prize money at the US Open to the top three men’s and top three women’s singles finishers in the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Last year, Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova captured the Emirates Airline US Open Series titles.