(October 23, 2012) Serena Williams defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-1 in her first match since capturing the US Open title in September at the WTA Championships in Istanbul Turkey on Tuesday in round-robin play.
The match stayed close in the first set until 3-3, when Williams captured 9 of the next 11 games to seal the victory.
Williams who has won 27 of her last 28 matches since capturing the Wimbledon crown, avenged her only loss which was to Kerber in Cincinnati.
“Honestly, you know, you don’t really think about it too much ‑ at least I don’t, “Williams told media. “Obviously I go into the match ‑‑ what I do is go into the match more focused thinking, Okay, she’s beaten me before so she’s going to be a little confident and feel like she can beat me. What can I do to improve?”
“I felt like I was ready to play,” Serena said of her layoff since the US Open. “I felt like I practiced too much, and if I hit another practice ball I’m going to go nuts.
“So I just really wanted a match. I was glad I played first on the first day. I was like, if I have another practice day, you know, I don’t know if I can handle it.”
“She plays today very well from the beginning, Kerber said. “Like I say, I was a little bit nervous in the beginning. I mean, I was just trying to find my game and to play aggressive. I make maybe a little bit more mistakes in the important moment than she.”
“I mean, it was not easy, the match. And playing here first round against Serena, it was very tough match and also a very tough fight for me.
“But I think I ‑‑ yeah, I mean, she played very well and I was just trying to be there. I think I do everything I could today. But I mean, I’m still here. Tomorrow it’s a next match and I can still qualify. So I will just, yeah, take the good things from today.
“I mean, I was a little bit nervous in the beginning. It’s my first time here, Serena is a big champion, and I think she had a lot more confidence today. So I think that was also the thing.
“But, yeah, I was feeling actually that I can play also consistent on the top level. Well done to her today. Tomorrow is the next day, next match, and we will see.”
For Kerber who is at a career high of No. 5, this is her first appearance at the WTA Championships. Williams was asked if she remembered her first time: “No, I don’t,” Williams said. “I think it was back in the 1800s.”
“I could feel that she was really excited all week long,” Williams said of Kerber. “She’s really happy to be here and feels honored to be here. She deserves to be here because she worked hard and has been one of the most consistent players constantly on the tour. I think ten semifinals is really pretty impressive, and winning titles as well.
“I think she definitely was excited, and she will have a lot more chances to play at this event.”
Williams will face Li Na on Wednesday in “Red Group” play.
“It’ll be interesting, and definitely a tough match,” Williams said. “She’s been playing really well. Obviously to make it here you have to be playing well.
So I look forward to it. It will not be easy, but I don’t think any match in this tournament is easy.
“So you have to be ready.”
TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – ISTANBUL 2012
October 23-28, 2012
Results – Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Round Robin – Red Group
(3) Serena Williams (USA) d. (5) Angelique Kerber (GER) 64 61
Round Robin – White Group
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (7) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 62
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 63 62
Order Of Play – Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Stadium (from 17.00hrs)
1. Serena Williams vs. Li Na
2. Victoria Azarenka vs. Angelique Kerber
3. Maria Sharapova vs. Agnieszka Radwanska