The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships being held this week in Istanbul got under way when 2nd seeded Victoria Azarenka (Player Profile) took to the court to face the challenge of 6th seeded Sara Errani (Player Profile) on Tuesday afternoon in the White Group. Azarenka led the head to head stat 6-1 – with Errani’s single win being way back on 2008. The Belarusian has only played two tournaments since getting to the final of the US Open – where she lost to Serena Williams – and lost in the first round of both of them. Errani’s record against top three players is dismal – she has lost all nineteen matches, although some of them did go the distance. Her biggest scalp to date is that of 4th ranked Aga Radwanska at this year’s French Open.
Azarenka served first and was immediately broken, but returned the compliment on Errani’s serve to level at 1-1. It took 27 minutes to complete the first three games, with Errani getting her second break of the set to lead 2-1. Both players held their next two games before Errani held and then broke again to go 5-2 ahead. Serving for the set, the Italian let the Belarusian back to trail 3-5. After serving five doubles to this point, Azarenka served her first ace to hold for 4-5 and then break to level at 5-5. Showing all her strength of mind and fabulous tennis, Errani yet again broke but Azarenka was up to the challenge and the set went to a breaker. After being level at 3-3, Azarenka pulled away to take the breaker 7-4 and the set in one and a half hours.
Errani started the second set and let Azarenka break in the third game to lead 2-1. The next two games went with serve to 3-2 and then Azarenka took the next three games to wrap up the set at 6-2 and the match in two and a quarter hours.