Serena and Halep win Singapore openers
Originally published on 21/10/14
The two-time defending champion beat Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-4 on Monday to extend her unbeaten record at the year-end championships to 16 matches. Her last defeat at the tournament came in Qatar back in 2008, when she lost in three sets to her sister Venus.
The world No.1 had pulled out of the China Open quarter-finals with a knee injury, and despite admitting it she was not 100% fit, enjoyed a straight sets victory in the opening match at the Singapore Sports Hub.
Ivanovic has enjoyed one of her best seasons to date, and had beaten Williams at the Australian Open this year, and showed belief as she recovered from 4-1 down to level before a missed volley on break point at 4-4 proved costly.
The Serb then doubled faulted on set point to hand Williams the advantage, and although she broke in the opening game of the second set, Williams broke straight back and 12 aces helped her on her way to victory.
"I felt the knee a little bit, but compared to what it was in Beijing, it just feels so much better," Williams said. "I was up 4-1 in the first set and cruising and she does what she does best. I felt my energy level got a little low and then I just tried to do everything I can to bring my energy level up to just to fight."
Williams will face Simona Halep in her next match on Wednesday. The Romanian won a battle of the debutants, triumphing 6-2 6-3 against Eugenie Bouchard, who made 30 unforced errors and won just four points on Halep’s first serve.
"Going for it is always my game style but today there was definitely a lack of consistency," admitted Bouchard. "I didn't feel match sharp, but I feel like I can build on this and I still have another match, which is a bit of a positive."
"I'm really happy I found my game again," said Halep. "I was very aggressive and made some winners. I played well. I'm really happy with this match. But Genie is a great player. She's very young and she'll be at the top soon, of course."