Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

WTA Championships: Serena Williams seals semifinal place in Istanbul

updated 6:31 PM EDT, Thu October 24, 2013
American tennis star Serena Williams extended her unbeaten run at the season-ending event.
American tennis star Serena Williams extended her unbeaten run at the season-ending event.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World No. 1 Serena Williams wins her third successive match at WTA Championships
  • American beats Petra Kvitova in straight sets to reach semifinals of season-ending event
  • Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska is out after losing to Germany's Angelique Kerber
  • China's world No. 5 Li Na wins again in other group, faces Victoria Azarenka in decider

(CNN) -- Serena Williams became the first woman through to the semifinals of the season-ending WTA Championships on Thursday, winning her third successive match in Istanbul.

The world No. 1 trounced former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-2 6-3 in just 72 minutes to secure top spot in the Red Group.

The American has now won her past 13 matches at the event, passing Chris Evert to have the second-best unbeaten streak behind Martina Navratilova's 21 in a row from 1983 to 1987.

"I feel pretty good -- I was really aggressive tonight," Williams said after extending her career record to 5-0 against the fourth-seeded Czech, firing 27 winners -- with 11 aces -- and making just 13 unforced errors.

Read: Azarenka beaten in Istanbul

"Petra was aggressive too, but I think my serve did really well. I'm just glad to still be alive in the tournament -- I didn't have any expectations coming here, I just wanted to come here and enjoy myself, and that's what I've done.

What do star tennis players eat?
Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur
Wawrinka ready for singles success
A workout with David Ferrer

"It just feels good to not be out of the tournament."

However, Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska is out after losing 6-2 6-2 to Angelique Kerber.

The German now has a 1-1 record, as does Kvitova, ahead of their winner-take-all clash on Friday.

In the White Group, Li Na is "one foot" away from making another piece of tennis history.

Already the first Chinese player to win a grand slam singles title, and the first to be ranked in the top five, she will now seek to reach the semifinals of the WTA Championships for the first time.

Read: Serena 'so focused' in Istanbul

Two previous attempts have ended in disappointment, going home with a 1-2 record on each occasion, but the 31-year-old is in touching distance this year after winning her second successive match in Istanbul.

"It was tight, but at least it's better than the last two years, because now I've got one foot in the semis -- but another foot still out of the door, so I have to see how it goes tomorrow," she said.

Li faces world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in her final round-robin match, and may still go through even if she loses -- depending on the result of Friday's other White Group clash between Jelena Jankovic and Sara Errani.

Li beat Jankovic 6-3 2-6 6-3 on Thursday in the first match this week to go to three sets, leaving Serbia's former world No. 1 with a 1-1 record ahead of her final match against Errani -- who is out of contention following two defeats.

Azarenka, who beat Li in January's Australian Open final when she was the top-ranked woman, also has a win and a loss.

The Belorussian has won their past five encounters, including at the WTA Championships in 2011 and 2012, but has been in poor form recently with just one win in four matches since losing the U.S. Open final to Williams.

Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov -- known earlier in his career as "Baby Federer" -- will face the real thing in Friday's quarterfinals at the Swiss Indoors event.

The Bulgarian, who claimed his first ATP Tour title in Stockholm last weekend, earned a clash with 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer by beating Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 6-2.

Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro set up a clash with French qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu, while Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Daniel Brands also went through to the last eight.

World No. 3 David Ferrer reached the quarterfinals of his home Valencia Open, where he will play fifth seed Jerzy Janowicz, but American No. 4 John Isner was upset by Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
updated 7:07 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Wed March 5, 2014
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
ADVERTISEMENT