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Storming start for Serena in Istanbul

ESPN staff
October 23, 2012 « Harrington the man to beat in Bermuda | Chartbeat test »

Serena Williams sent out an ominous statement of intent by swatting aside Angelique Kerber in her opening match at the WTA Championship in Istanbul.

Williams, the world No. 3, breezed past Kerber 6-4 6-1 in 78 minutes on court. Earlier this year, Kerber inflicted the only defeat Williams suffered in the run between Wimbledon and the US Open.

Kerber made a nervy start to the contest, falling 3-0 behind in no time at all, and she never really recovered against an opponent more accustomed to high-profile occasions. Williams grabbed four breaks in all, which atoned for a first-serve accuracy rate of just 44%.

World No. 2 Maria Sharapova responded to Williams throwing down the gauntlet in Monday's final match, dismissing Sara Errani 6-3 6-2 across 91 minutes. Errani was blown away by Sharapova's power, winning less than half the points on her first delivery.

Defending champion Petra Kvitova was topped 6-3 6-2 by Agnieszka Radwanska in 83 minutes on court. Kvitova had won all three of their previous meetings, but had no answer to her opponent's groundstrokes.

"I'm just very happy about my performance," Radwanska said. "The first match is always tough and adjusting to a new surface is never easy, but I was playing really well from the beginning to the end of the match.

"It was still a little bit up and down today. There were a lot of breaks of serve in the match - the serve should be a big weapon, and it wasn't in this match. But I just stayed focused and I'm happy I closed this match out in two sets."

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