SINGAPORE (AP) – A new venue, an injury-hit preparation and insults from a top sports official – none of it could stop Serena Williams’ winning streak at the WTA Finals.
The three-time defending champion made it 16-straight wins at the season-ending championships by beating Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-4 in Monday’s tournament opener, shaking off the injuries that forced her out of her previous two tournaments and the off-court distraction of disparaging comments about her from Russian tennis official Shamil Tarpischev.
Serena is now five wins behind Martina Navratilova’s all-time record of 21 in a row at the tournament, although she won’t have enough matches to catch up this year.
In the other Red Group match, Simona Halep beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 6-3 in a meeting between the only two newcomers in the eight-player field.
The top-ranked Serena was shaky in her opening service game, having to save two break points, but soon settled and took a 4-1 lead. Ivanovic got back on serve at 4-4 and had a crucial break opportunity to go up 5-4 but missed a volley.