World No. 1 Serena Williams and first-time WTA Finals competitor Simona Halep were winners on Day 1 at the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Williams was tested against former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic is a spirited 6-4, 6-4 win.
“Today I was really fighting all the way,” said Serena, whose participation was in doubt after a knee injury earlier in the month. “Ana played so well, I was just trying to fight as hard as I could. I was even losing my voice from shouting ‘Come on!’ so much.”
It looked like the world No. 1 would run away with it up 4-1 in the first before Ivanovic won three straight games. The Serb later missed a sitter volley that would have given her the 5-4 break, instead dropping the first set. In the second set Williams broke at 5-4 to seal the match.
“I’m really excited with how I played tonight,” said Williams who hit 12 aces and improved to 8-1 career against Ivanovic.
Halep in the second match displayed significant poise while Eugenie Bouchard became unraveled in a 6-2, 6-3 win featuring two WTA Finals first-timers.
Halep dictated play while Bouchard sprayed groundstrokes and failed to make adjustments, continually trying to hit through the smaller Halep.
“I played really well,” Halep said. “I was very aggressive and made some winners. It means a lot to have my family and my friends here with me also, I want to thank you for coming, they are supporting me a lot.”
Halep now has to look forward to a meeting with group member and world No. 1 Serena Williams.
“She is the best player in the world and I have nothing to lose,” Halep said.
Tuesday’s matches at the WTA Finals will be Maria Sharapova vs. Caroline Wozniacki in a battle of former No. 1s, and Petra Kvitova vs. Agnieszka Radwanska.
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