[QODLink]
Tennis
Williams starts with easy win in Istanbul
Despite struggling with an injury, Serena Williams powers past Angelique Kerber in their WTA Championship opener.
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2012 20:09
The top eight female players are competing for the WTA Championship title in Istanbul [GALLO/GETTY]


Serena Williams survived an injury scare on Monday to make a winning start in her bid to cap a brilliant comeback season by regaining the WTA Championship title in the tour's season-end event.

The Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic champion appeared to pull a gluteal muscle in the first set while attempting a vigorous retrieve, but played through the discomfort to overcome Angelique Kerber, a debutant in this top eight event.

Williams' tenacious efforts eventually earned her a 6-4, 6-1 revenge over the improving German left-hander, who upset the American tennis legend in their last meeting, at Cincinnati two months ago, and who had her moments early on this time too.

Kerber was surprisingly aggressive while coming back from 0-3 to 3-3 in the first set, and also played some good rallies while earning three chances to reach 5-5.

But she could not convert any of them, and once Williams broke for 3-1 in the second set with a trademark ferocious drive volley, the match quickly slid away from the woman from Kiel.

There had nevertheless been a few moments in the fifth and sixth games when a different outcome seemed possible, with Williams labouring to reach the ball and apparently anxious about her restricted movement.

Once she held her lower back after failing to reach a ball wide on the forehand side and she dropped serve in that game after unaccountably hitting wide with a backhand drive from well inside the baseline.

As Kerber began to dictate some of the rallies in the following game, Williams again appeared to hold her gluteal region. But her rhythmic service action helped get her through the next few minutes and after she held serve again for 5-4 Williams pumped up her adrenaline with fearsome fist pumping and yelling.

Her standard immediately improved, but Kerber might still have reached 5-5 had she not double faulted on an advantage point. That failing was punished immediately by two solid Williams attacks which snatched her the set.

At the end Williams' celebrations seemed subdued, and it was an hour before she appeared for a press conference. She has little time in which to recover from any after-effects for on Wednesday she is scheduled first on against Li Na, the former French Open champion from China.

Kerber faces another stern challenge in the competition meeting world number one Victoria Azarenka, who begins her campaign on Wednesday. 

406

Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.