Istanbul WTA Champ's round robin, Tue 5pm
n2 Maria Sharapova RUS d n8 Sara Errani ITA 6-3, 6-2
Sara driving a forehand, Maria following one, and after match point
Maria struck 39 winners (including 6 aces) with 26 unforced errors (including 4 double faults) and scored on 4 of the 8 break points she reached against Sara while totaling 66 points in the match. Sara hit 6 winners (no aces) with 13 errors (2 DFs) and converted 1 of the 3 break points she reached against Maria while totaling 45 in the match.|
Maria said: "It was a slow start. I gave Sara a lot of time, and that's what she likes. Her variety is what has won her so many matches this year. She loves to open the angles. I think the points were going a bit too long. I just tried to step in and be more aggressive after that, and it really helped me." WTA story
Sara said: "I played a good match. The first four or five games were so long. And I'm happy with how I played, but [Maria] was playing very strong and deep today. She was very tough."
n3 Serena Williams USA d n6 Angelique Kerber GER 6-4, 6-1
Angelique driving a backhand, Serena ready to swat a forehand, and after match point
It was Serena's first match since winning the US Open. Serena struck 26 winners (including 3 aces) with 20 unforced errors (including 4 double faults) and scored on 4 of the 10 break points she reached against Angelique while totaling 66 points in the match. Angelique hit 15 winners (1 ace) with 27 errors (5 DFs) and converted 1 of the 5 break points she reached against Serena while totaling 45 points in the match (not a typo, both Maria and Serena won 66-45 in points).|
Serena had lost to Angelique in their previous meeting (this year's quarterfinals at Cincinnati). Serena said: "Obviously I'm thinking, 'Okay, she's beaten me before, so she's going to be a little confident and feel like she can beat me again. What can I do to improve?' But I really just wanted to do well and win today. When you're playing against anyone that's in the top 5 you're just trying to play better." WTA story
n4 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d n5 Petra Kvitova CZE 6-3, 6-2
Petra and Agnieszka driving backhand and forehand
Agnieszka hit 11 winners with 5 unforced errors; Petra hit 23 winners, but with 41 errors.|
Agnieszka said: "I'm just very happy about my performance. The first match is always tough and adjusting to a new surface is never easy, but I was playing really well from the beginning to the end of the match.
"It was still a little bit up and down today. There were a lot of breaks of serve in the match. The serve should be a big weapon, and it wasn't in this match. But I just stayed focused and I'm happy I closed this match out in two sets." WTA story
2011 Istanbul champ Petra said: "The nerves were there, for sure. I was nervous the whole match. My fingers and my legs weren't moving. I'm disappointed in myself. I made a lot of errors in the match today; it wasn't good tennis from my side. But it's the WTA Championships, and I have another chance."
Istanbul WTA Champ's round robin, Wed 5pm
n1 Victoria Azarenka BLR d n6 Angelique Kerber GER 6(11)-7, 7-6(2), 6-4
Victoria volleying a forehand, Angelique driving a backhand, and Vika fielding another forehand
The three hour, six minute match was being hailed as one of the best of the year well before it was completed. The 13-11 1st set tiebreaker tied a record for longest in WTA Championships history, and Victoria successfully defended two match points by Angelique in the 2nd set.|
Victoria struck 45 winners (including 2 aces) with 40 unforced errors (including 4 double faults) and scored on 5 of the 15 break points she reached against Angelique while totaling 132 points in the match. Angie hit 49 winners (8 aces) with 43 errors (4 DFs) and converted 4 of the 6 break points she reached against Vika while totaling 121 in the match. full match stats
Victoria said: "I made a few too many unforced errors today, but it happens, and [Angelique] was playing really well. She forced me to do those unforced errors... On the match points I just thought I had to go for it. She wasn't going to miss, and I didn't want to wait for her to make a mistake. I was so determined to make it happen. I wanted to take destiny into my hands. If I missed those shots, it was going to be up to me, not up to my opponent." WTA story
Angelique said: "Vika played unbelievable in those moments. She played unbelievable on those match points. I really couldn't do anything."
n2 Maria Sharapova RUS d n4 Agnieszka Radwanska POL 5-7, 7-5, 7-5
Agnieszka driving a forehand, and Maria following one
The 3 hour, 12 minute match ended at 2:14am. Maria struck 66 winners with 64 unforced errors; Agnieszka hit 18 winners with 19 UEs.|
Maria said: "It was a very physical match with so many ups and downs. I wasn't playing my best tennis, but I kept fighting. And when you win when you're not at your best, it gives you extra motivation to do better in the next one." WTA story
Agnieszka said: "It was a great match, and all the sets were very tight. I had my chance in the second set, but when you don't use your chances against a top player, a great player, it's hard to come back and win."
n3 Serena Williams USA d n7 Na Li CHN 7-6(2), 6-3
Serena serving, Na driving a backhand, and Serena following one
The match was not pretty. Serena struck 18 winners (including 6 aces) with 31 unforced errors (including 6 double faults) and scored on 6 of the 13 break points she reached against Na while totaling 80 points in the match. Na hit 19 winners (1 ace) with 36 errors (5 DFs) and converted 5 of the 10 break points she reached against Serena while totaling 73 points in the match.|
Na took a 4-1 lead in the 1st set. Serena said: "I started out really strong in the first game but then started making errors, and Li started playing her game and playing it well. I was a little tight and my serve wasn't working at all today—maybe towards the end. But that's not how I usually play. The good thing is I can only play better." WTA story
Na said: "I know I had a very good beginning of the match, but after I was up maybe I was thinking too much, that I have a chance. [Serena} had a very good serve in the second set, though. And I tried my best on the court today. I had some chances but wasted them. I hope to do better in my next match tomorrow."
About playing Victoria Azarenka on Thursday, Serena said: "She's playing so well this year. I'm going to have to play better than I did in my first two rounds, playing against the #1 player in the world. But I have nothing to lose."
Serena leads Vika 10-1 in career matches.
Istanbul WTA Champ's round robin, Thu 5pm
*n3 Serena Williams USA d n1 Victoria Azarenka BLR 6-3, 6-4
Serena serving, Vika following a forehand, and Serena driving a backhand
Serena, 3-0 in matches and 6-0 in sets, will finish first in the Red Group of the round robin, and will play the 2nd place finisher from the White Group, either Agnieszka Radwanska or Sara Errani, in Saturday's semifinals.|
Serena struck 35 winners (including 11 aces) with 9 unforced errors (including 5 double faults) and scored on 5 of the 6 break points she reached against Victoria while totaling 69 points in the match. Vika hit 15 winners (no aces) with 22 errors (9 DFs) and converted 3 of the 9 break points she reached against Serena while totaling 57 points in the match.
Serena said: "I'd been struggling with my serve in my first two rounds. I knew I could do better, so that was keeping me going. And everything was just a little better today. I knew I needed to play better today to win against Victoria, who has had a stellar year." WTA story
Victoria will play Li Na on Friday, with the winner advancing to the semis as second place finisher in the Red Group. Victoria said: "I'll be sad for a little bit after today's match, but I'll bounce back strong for tomorrow - I'll take the best out of what I did today and transform into a better version for tomorrow. It's win or go home. I'll give everything I have to win because I want to stay a couple more days here and fight."
*n7 Na Li CHN d n6 Angelique Kerber GER 6-4, 6-3
Na serving, and Angelique and Na driving forehands
Na said: "I had my first match yesterday but felt much, much better today. I was more focused and concentrated on the court. Angelique is very good in defense. My coach, Carlos [Rodriguez, former coach of Justine Henin], was telling me before the match to use more topspin and open the court. I knew I had to change the pace to win today." WTA story|
Na will play Victoria Azarenka in the third match on Friday evening in Istanbul. The winner will be in the semifinals on Saturday, playing the first place finisher from the White Group, Maria Sharapova.
n8 Sara Errani ITA d n9 Samantha Stosur AUS 6-3, 2-6, 6-0
Samantha driving a forehand, and Sara following one
Sara said: "In the beginning [Samantha] was making a lot of unforced errors, but in the second set she was playing amazing. I was just trying to stay focused and aggressive today, and I think the third set was better for me." WTA story|
Samantha said: "It was a little bit up and down. In the second set I got off to a good lead and then was able to hold onto that and win the set. And then I had a break point in the first game of the third and missed a return, and then it was like all the energy went out of me. I certainly dug myself into too much of a hole to try and get out."
Istanbul WTA Champ's round robin, Fri 5pm
n1 Victoria Azarenka BLR d n7 Na Li CHN 7-6(4), 6-3
Na driving a forehand, Vika following one, and after match point
The win advanced Victoria to Saturday's semifinals as the 2nd place finisher in the Red Group of the round robin. The victory also assured that Victoria will end the season still ranked #1 in WTA singles.|
Na took 4-2 at the start of the match. Victoria said: "I felt like the first set was a bit of a roller coaster. [Na] was playing well at some points, and I was playing well at some points, and we're both big shotmakers, so it all depended on who was getting control at what time. The momentum was going back and forth, but I'm glad I stayed through it and fought hard, even though I didn't feel I was executing well." WTA story
Na said: "It was the same as the Serena match, a pretty good start and then, I don't know, I just always do the same thing! But I still have positives to take away: this tournament I played the #1, #3 and #5 in the world and it was a good challenge; I didn't have injuries this year, and am healthy at the end of the season; and I'm really looking forward to the next season."
n2 Maria Sharapova RUS d n9 Samantha Stosur AUS 6-0, 6-3
Samantha and Maria driving forehands, and Sam congratulating Maria after match point
Maria said: "Sam likes to create a lot of spin, and when you give her the time she's certainly good at that, and it has gotten her a lot of success in the past. I tried to take that time away from her today and I'm happy how it turned out." WTA story|
The win was in a sense academic, as Maria had already clinched 1st place in the Red Group. However, the win was good for $115,000 in prize money. And, Maria said: "I don't want to just play to play tennis. I play to win. It's not a practice match or anything."
n4 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d n8 Sara Errani ITA 6(6)-7, 7-5, 6-4
Agnieszka and Sara driving forehand and backhand
The match lasted 3 hours and 29 minutes. The win advanced Agnieszka to Saturday's semifinals as the 2nd place finisher in the White Group of the round robin.|
Agnieszka said: "After my last match I wasn't that fresh, so I was afraid of what would happen. I don't know how I did it today, especially after almost three and a half hours on the court, but I'm so happy. Now I'll try to do a lot of treatment to stay in one piece!." WTA story
Sara said: "I was dead maybe from the second set, but I just tried to keep fighting. In tennis you have to fight. I just tried to play point by point. Even if I was tired, it doesn't matter. I just thought about fighting, and not other things. But this is tennis. You win or you lose, and that's it."
About her semifinal opponent, Serena Williams, Agnieszka said: "Obviously Serena's a great champion. In that kind of match I have nothing to lose, so I'll just go on court and enjoy it."
alternates prizes: $50,000 • RR no wins prizes: $110,000 US; points: 210 - RR 1 win 2 losses prizes: $225,000 US; points: 370
RR 2 wins 1 loss prizes: $340,000 US; points: 530 - RR 3 wins prizes: $455,000 US; points: 690
Istanbul WTA Championships, SFs, Sat 3pm
loser's prize: RR prize + $30,000 US
*n2 Maria Sharapova RUS d n1 Victoria Azarenka BLR 6-4, 6-2
Maria serving, Vika and Maria driving backhands, and Maria after match point
Maria had lost four of her last five matches against Victoria, and all of those encounters occurred this year. Maria said: "When you find yourself in a losing position a few times during the year, you want to try to figure out how to change those things around. I certainly didn't make as many mistakes today as I did in our previous matches this year. I also returned a little bit better this time, although I still feel like I could have returned better than I did today." WTA story|
Victoria said: "I'm not going to say I was the freshest today, but I also don't want to make any excuses because that's not really my type. I give Maria all the credit today. She played really well and looks in great form. She deserved to win, 100%. Could I have played better? Yes. But it's done. I have no regrets. I finished a loss with a smile for the first time. It didn't feel as bad today."
n3 Serena Williams USA d n4 Agnieszka Radwanska POL 6-2, 6-1
Serena serving, Aga and Serena driving backhands, and Serena after match point
Agnieszka's last round robin match on Friday had kept her oncourt for 3 hours and 29 minutes, and she totaled over 8 hours in her three RR matches. Serena, on the other hand, was idle on Friday.|
Serena said: "I probably had an idea she was tired. [After the match] I just told her that it was awesome she played so well and played through another match, after playing a good eight hours. It was really inspiring for me." WTA story
Agnieszka said: "Those last two matches really killed me. Especially that I didn't have the day off, and especially that surface. It's very sticky, so three and a half hours is a lot. I really tried today and I really wanted to run, but my legs just didn't. This is the kind of tournament where you have to be fit every match to win. I was trying, but Serena played too fast. I couldn't do anything."