7-6 5-3 The Chinese player keeps on struggling on her serve, goes 0-30 down, but manages to equal the score at 30-30. She subsequently hands Serena the first match point after coming up with a double fault, but the American is unable to convert. With another double fault Serena gets another chance to close out the match, but the netcord is on the Chinese’s side and she eventually holds. Serena will serve for the match next.
7-6 5-2 Serena takes a quick 30-0 lead, firing her 6th ace on the way. Her serve has certainly picked up a lot in the last few minutes. But Li steps up a notch as well and moving the American around the court, she forces a break point with an unreturnable forehand winner. Unfortunately for her, she can’t use the chance to get back into this set and Williams is only one game away from victory here in Istanbul. Li will be serving to stay in the match.
7-6 4-2 Li opens up the sixth game of set two with her first ace of the match (and that on the 2nd serve). But one can sense lack of conviction in the Chinese’s game, she is probable still wondering how it got to this score after she was leading 4-1 at the start of the first set. Despite holding and reducing the deficit at 2-4, she will have to raise the level of her tennis if she wants to turn this one around.
7-6 4-1 Serena goes 40-0 up just before letting Li back into the game. Misses and easy looking forehand drive volley and the score is suddenly poised at deuce. Williams eventually clinches the game with a help of four aces and after averting a break point as Li hits a backhand long. She is only two games away from winning her second match at this year’s WTA Championships. But one thing is for sure – this must have been one of her worst performances in the last few years. It will really be a huge accomplishment if she manages to prevail today…
7-6 3-1 BREAK! A very rare backhand winner from Serena today gives her a 30-0 lead. The unforced errors are piling up on Li’s side as well and after a complete ground stroke miss she hands her opponent three more break points. She is able to avert the first two, with Serena netting a backhand and subsequently firing a forehand winner, but comes up with a double fault to put the American back in the driving seat.
7-6 2-1 BREAK! Serena gets foot faulted for the second time in today’s encounter which means another double fault and finds herself trailing 0-30. A few seconds later it is Li who gets to a tripple break point out of the blue..Converts the first one after a sloppy ground stroke from Serena and the set is back on track. We have seen 10 breaks of serve in this match so far…
7-6 2-0 BREAK! Serena almost loses her footing as Li strikes a superb depth ground stroke, but the American comes back with a cracking serve return winner to level the score at 15-15. We don’t seem to have too many long rallies in this match, with both players going for big shots. As the game gets to deuce, Li misses a routine forehand drive volley and hands Serena the first break point of the second set. She saves it with a superb backhand down the line just before the American forces another break point after striking a very delicate drop shot. The Chinese misfires on her forehand in the very next point and goes 0-2 down.
7-6 1-0 A hold to 30 from Serena opens up the second set. Although she doesn’t seem as confident moving around the court as she was in yesterday’s match against Kerber, Li can’t take advantage of it. Despite the Chinese taking a 30-15 lead in the game, Williams fights back and let’s out the first Come On! in this encounter.
7-6 SET WILLIAMS!
7-2 Serena wraps up the set and she must be pleased with this performance as her level of tennis wasn’t quite high enough
5-2 One mini break back with a help of a forehand winner from Li. The Chinese to serve twice…
4-1 A cracking forehand from Serena and and unforced error from Li and the American goes a double mini break up
2-1 No mini breaks yet, Li to serve twice
6-6 BREAK! A double fault and a routine forehand miss and Serena finds herself 0-30 down yet again. After a successful net approach from Li and a forehand volley put away, we have got another three break points on our hands. Unbelievable! Serena gets broken to love and for the fourth time in this set. A tiebreak will follow…
6-5 BREAK! The Istanbul crowd finally witnesses a rally that they came for. It goes Serena’s way and the American takes a 3-0 lead. Li reduces the deficit after Williams misses a forehand cross-court, but finds herself under more pressure as she is unable to deal with Serena’s bullet return of serve. The Chinese’s forehand fails her in the very next rally and the American will be serving for the set for the second time after the change of ends.
5-5 BREAK! As Serena commits a backhand error and subsequently Li pushes her to miss a forehand wide, the score is poised at 30-0 for the Chinese player. Li captures the following point with a forehand approach winner and earns herself three break points. Doesn’t hesitate for too long, takes the very first one as Williams’ backhand sails long. Really hard to predict the outcome of this set now…
5-4 BREAK! The American has definitely regained her composure now. Breaks Li to get a chance to serve out the set. Who would have predicted this at 4-1 in the Chinese’s favour. It hasn’t been the highest quality tennis so far, but let’s hope that the level will increase a bit shortly…
4-4 Serena finally plays a lot more comfortable game on her serve, holding to 30. A couple of good first serves hand her a double game point at 40-15. First one goes astray as Li smashes a forehand winner down the line, but subsequently nets a backhand and the score is levelled at 4-4.
3-4 BREAK! Way too many errors from the American, goes 15-30 down on Li’s serve. However, she manages to regroup and after taking the next two points (one winner, one unforced error from Li), she gets to a chance to claw the break back. Serena takes the offered opportunity as Li produces another forehand error and the set is back on track.
2-4 Another double fault, three in a row for Serena now. Not sure when was the last time she hit three double faults in a row…Let’s not forget that she is the greatest server of all time. Serena manages to come back with a little help from Li and reduces the score at 2-4.
Williams 4 winners 13 UEs so far vs Li Na’s 2 winners and 4UEs
1-4 Serena is not in the match at the moment. On the other hand, Li is completely focused. Despite Serena winning the best rally of the match at 0-40 down, the Chinese eventually wraps up the game after yet another Williams return miss.
1-3 BREAK! Serena falls 0-30 behind and seems to have lost her focus a bit. Although she is famous for suddenly turning around any score thanks to her mental strenght, Li Na comes to another two break point opportunities at 40-15 up. First one saved by the Olympic and 2012 US Open champion and so is the second one as Li’s forehand finds the net. Another double fault hands the Chinese the advantage and Serena produces her third double fault of the match to give Li a 3-1 lead. Smashes her racket after that.
1-2 First service hold in today’s encounter. Li goes 40-0 up after Serena misses three bread and butter returns. The Chinese follows up by a backhand cross-court winner to wrap up the game and take a lead in the match.
1-1 BREAK! Li takes the first point of the second game after Williams’ backhand clips the top of the net. Serena fires one ace and one service winner to take a 30-15 lead. Not easy to ready her ball toss. The American player earns herself a couple of game points, but Li disagrees with that and equals the score at deuce after a successful net approach. A double fault from Serena hands her a re-break point which she converts after Williams comes up with an unforced error.
1-0 BREAK! Serena starts with a cracking backhand return, followed up by a forehand unforced error. Li will have to move the American around if she wants to prevail here. After a couple more points the score is set at 30-30. Another solid backhand return from Williams and she erns herself the first break point of the match. The Chinese player saves it with a superbly placed backhand herself, just before she misses and easy looking forehand. Serena takes the second chance to break after the longest rally of the match so far, fires a bullet forehand winner to take a 1-0 lead.
Li Na to serve…
Players are just starting to warm up…
Live Commentary of the WTA Championships group match between Serena Williams and Li Na will commence here as soon as the players start warming up.
Serena leads the head to head against the Chinese player with 5-1, having won their last encounter at the 2010 Wimbledon championships.
Williams has already got one group win to her name as she defeated German Angelique Kerber in yesterday’s match.