As she closed her 2013 season with a bang by winning the prestigious WTA China Open, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza avowed that she is a better player compared to what she was last year.
China Open offers 500 more ranking points and a hefty $1,26,420 more to women's doubles winners than the victorious men's team in the same tournament.
It was Sania's fifth title of season, during which she was forced to switch partners frequently for several reasons.
In 2012, Sania won two titles whereas she ended runners-up in three others, including the China Open.
Sania ended her season with back-to-back titles with Zimbabwean Cara Black, with whom she joined forces for the Japan Open and the partnership took off with a trophy in the first tournament.
"I think, I have improved all round. Ny fitness has become better. I have also improved myself around the net. My serve has improved so I am a better player than what I was last year," Sania told PTI from Beijing.
"There is no better way to finish the year. I have been playing well. Sometimes you are unlucky and you don't win despite playing well. I am happy that I was able to convert these big moments and we played really well, specially in the last couple of weeks," she added.
Even as she changed five partners in 2013, Sania managed to win titles with three of them -- American Bethanie-Mattek Sands, Chinese Jie Zheng and Cara.
In their unbeaten nine-match streak, Sania and Cara also shocked world number one team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the China Open.