(October 24, 2012) Serena Williams had to overcome her shaky serve on Wednesday to stop Li Na 7-6(1) 6-3 to win to go 2-0 in round-robin play in the Red Group and secure a spot in the semifinals of the WTA Championships in Istanbul.
Williams won only 51 percent of her first serve points double-faulting six times.
“My serve was a little off, said Williams. “That’s the only way to explain it. I think the good news is I can serve better and I can play a lot better than what I did today.
“My serve just didn’t go in. Every time I got my first serve in, I was surprised. But knowing I was able to still, for me, zero serve compared to how I normally serve…. I think it’s something good I can take out of the match.
“I lost serve today more than in all of Wimbledon.”
Williams was so upset with her poor serving, that after her serve was broken she smashed her racquet.
“No, I don’t break racquets in matches,” Williams said. “Although I didn’t hit it hard and it kind of broke. Maybe I don’t know my own strength.”
After trailing 4-1, Williams surged by winning the next four games, but was broken serving for the first set, but eventually won the set in a tiebreak.
“I know I have very good beginning of the match, “Li said. Afterwards, break up and I think too much, you know, because I saw I was 4‑1 up and maybe I have a chance. But I have to say she has very good serve in the second set.
“But what I can do? Already try the best on the court today. Maybe I have some more chance, but I waste them. I wish I can doing better tomorrow.
“Very tough to play the first match against Serena. We didn’t have match before for warmup. If you come to the court with her you have to start right away and keep high level as well.
“But this is the Championships. It’s different tournament. It’s end of the year, the last tournament, so, yeah. I mean, how do you say, it’s really tough.”
Williams has now won 28 of her last 29 matches dating back to Wimbledon.
“It’s important for me to do well and win every match I play, Williams said of her next opponent No. 1 Victoria Azarenka. She’s playing well. She’s had a stellar year.
“I don’t want lose whether it’s against her or whether it’s against anybody else.”
Williams will advance out of the Red Group in the semifinals. It’s the fifth time she’s reached the semifinal round. She’s won the tournament twice.