Istanbul, Turkey (Sports Network) - Former champion Maria Sharapova and two-
time titlist Serena Williams were easy round-robin winners, as the 2012 WTA
Championships commenced Tuesday in Istanbul.
The second-seeded former world No. 1 Sharapova leveled seventh-seeded Sara
Errani 6-3, 6-2, while the third-seeded former top-ranked great Williams took
care of fifth-seeded German left-hander Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-1 indoors at
Sinan Erdem Arena. The Russian Sharapova also beat the Italian Errani in this
year's French Open final.
The 2012 Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Olympic champion Williams captured WTA
Championships titles in 2001 and 2009 and is a two-time runner-up at this
Play got underway on Day 1 when Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska beat reigning
champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. The fourth-seeded 2012 Wimbledon
runner-up to Williams Radwanska whipped the sixth-seeded 2011 Wimbledon
champion Kvitova, 6-3, 6-2.
Kvitova defeated current world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in last year's final in
Istanbul, which will also play host to this elite eight-player tournament next
This week's four-player Group A features the current No. 1 and Australian Open
champion Azarenka, Williams (1-0), Kerber (0-1) and eighth-seeded Li Na, while
Group B boasts the 2004 champion and 2007 WTA Championships runner-up
Sharapova (1-0), Radwanska (1-0), Kvitova (0-1) and Errani (0-1).
The top-two players in each group will advance to the semifinals, and the
winners will square off in the lucrative finale on Sunday.
Azarenka needs only two wins this week to end the year at No. 1.
The winner of this $4.9 million event could collect as much as $1.75 million.
The Sports Network