By Jane Voigt
October 24, 2013 — Serena Williams advanced to the head of her Red Group in Istanbul today, after a dominating performance against Petra Kvitova brought the America to a perfect 3-0 record in the round-robin competition of the WTA year-ending championships.
She is 13-0 now at this event. Plus, she has not dropped one set in those thirteen wins. She won the title last year, but did not play in 2011. Oddly enough, Kvitova won that year.
Williams struck 11 aces in her 63 62 demolition of the lefty Czech, who many thought could give No. 1 seed trouble. Kvitova is a power player. But with 27 winners and 13 errors, and a perfect stat — 5 for 5 — at the net, Kvitova was lost.
Lindsay Davenport, calling the match for Tennis Channel, added, “Those stats don’t tell you how well she [Williams] is moving and how motivated she is, and how well she’s hitting the ball.” From the eyes of a three-time Major champion and former number one in the world, those insights are high praise.
“Serena was just too good tonight,” Kvitova posted on Twitter. “But the best thing about the #wtachamps is you get a second chance. I’ll be back tomorrow.”
The only woman from the Red Group who will not return to competition is Agnieszka Radwanska. Angelique Kerber prevailed over the Pole 62 62 today, creating an untenable position for Radwanska — 0-3. Kerber, making her second appearance amongst the elite 8, went 0-3 last year.
Tomorrow, Kvitova and Kerber will contest the second semifinal berth in the Red Group. It’s do or die for the two competitors.
Li Na clinched a semifinal berth in the White Group, with a 3-0 record. She defeated Jelena Jankovic in a topsy turvy match, 63 26 63, where each woman passed off the lead like footballers pass a ball as they make their way down a pitch. Yet, after Li broke in the third set, she busted through any mental blocks that frequently confront her during important occasions. She won the last three games.
“‘It was tight, yeah, but at least it’s better than the last two years,'” Li said, as reported by the Associated Press.
Li meets Victoria Azarenka tomorrow; and, Sara Errani, who is currently 0-2, plays Jelena Jankovic.
On the money front … Serena Williams has earned a whopping $555,000 USD for her perfect 3-0 roll in Istanbul. Li Na with her almost-perfect record — she dropped a set in her match today — has pocketed $415,000 USD.