The Red Group kicked off the proceedings at the first ever WTA Finals event in Singapore, with all four contestants taking to court over two enthralling matches.
World No. 1 Serena Williams was the first arrive on court, and she was faced with an opponent she had already clashed with on four separate occasions this season and was also the only player in the elite eight field with a win over her this season: Ana Ivanovic.
While the contest was an entertaining and competitive affair, Williams managed to find the necessary breaks of serve to pick up her 16th straight WTA Final victory with a 6-4, 6-4 scoreline.
“I didn’t have any fear at all,” Williams said after dispatching Ana Ivanovic, 6-4, 6-4, in the opening WTA Finals match. “I really don’t feel like I have anything to lose at this point.”
After only managing four matches post-US Open, Williams is simply happy to be back on court and healthy.
“I felt the knee a little bit, but compared to what it was in Beijing, it feels so much better. I’m getting better, which is great. Just have to keep doing my program so by end of the week, hopefully – if I’m here – I’ll still be getting better.”
The second match of the day featured a rematch of the Wimbledon semi-final between Simona Halep and Eugenie Bouchard, both of whom were making their debuts at the year-end championships.
Although Bouchard looked sharp at the start of the match, within minutes, she was down 0-4 and looking helpless on court. She would claw her way onto the scoreboard but never managed to get herself back into the match and eventually lost the encounter 6-2, 6-3.
“I felt prepared to start the match, to start the tournament, and I had confidence that I can play my style and my game again,” Halep said. “I found the way to be again aggressive and to fight for every point.”
For Bouchard, however, the loss was a bitter disappointment.
“You know, it’s unfortunate,” Bouchard said. “I think it’s something you kind of get when you haven’t played a competitive match since like Wuhan. I didn’t feel match sharp. But I feel like I can build on this. I still have another match, even though I lost, so there is a positive.”
The second day of action will feature two more compelling matches: Maria Sharapova vs Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Petra Kvitova.