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radwanska_20110788There were no surprises at the WTA Championships in Istanbul on Friday with the top seeds booking their pre-appointed spots in the semi-finals of the year end tournament. Maria Sharapova, who had already advanced to the semis courtesy her two early wins, took top spot in the White Group courtesy of a 6-0, 6-3 thumping of a hapless Samantha Stosur. The other two spots were far from settled, but top seed Victoria Azarenka ensured that she would end the year as world no.1 by battling her way past Chinese superstar Li Na in straight sets, 7-6, 6-3. Taking up the final spot in the semi-finals was the world no.4 Agnieszka Radwanska, who came through a high quality contest against Sara Errani, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4.

Sharapova wasted little time dismissing the challenge of Aussie Sam Stosur, who lost her second straight love set, having dropped the final set of her match against Sara Errani as well without taking a game. Sharapova wrapped up the opener in just 21 minutes for the loss of just 5 points before Stosur showed some semblance of resisting, keeping the second set close for initial stages. Sharapova though finished like she started, winning 4 games on the bounce to improve her record in the White Group to a perfect 3-0.

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williams_20110992After a dull opening day at the WTA Championships which saw three convincing victories and no match extended beyond 17 games, not much was expected from day 2. However, the leading ladies of the tennis world finally did live up to their billing as the quality on tennis on offer exceeded all expectations. While pre-tournament favourite Serena Williams romped into the semi-finals courtesy a 7-6, 6-3 win against Chinese veteran Li Na, the two matches that followed were nail-bitting edge of the seat cliffhangers that went the distance.

Li Na started her match against Serena the stronger, racing to an early 4-1 lead and served for the first set twice in the 10th and 12th games, but Williams refused to lose it, coming back powerfully to win it in a tiebreak 7-2. With momentum on her side there was no stopping Serena, who wrapped up the contest comfortably in straight sets.

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serena_williams3When the top 8 women in the tennis world descend on a single venue for the year end Championships, fans would traditionally expect to see some sparks fly, however, the opening day of the WTA Championships in Istanbul proved to be rather disappointing with all three matches going the way of the higher ranked players, each for the loss of exactly 5 games.

Legendary American powerhouse Serena Williams, a perpetual favourite any time she steps on a tennis court, avenged her only defeat in the last 4 months dismantling promising German Angelique Kerber, 6-4, 6-1. The match started on an even keel, with Kerber holding her own till 3-3 in the opening set before Williams ran away with the contest thereafter, dropping just 2 further games.

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