Martin and Gönül invited me to join them at the 2012 WTA Tour Championships in Istanbul. This would be the very first tennis event that I would attend in person. It took place at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in the municipality of Bakırköy. We were only able to attend the first day of matches due to work commitments.
We arrived on a very crowded Metrobüs about an hour before the first match, exiting at the Şirinevler stop. From there it was a long walk along the highway and over a pedestrian bridge to the stadium. In reality it was probably only ten minutes but it felt much longer.
Once inside we took our seats. The views we had were excellent and we were very excited for the matches to begin. We ran back to concessions for some sandwiches, snacks, and drinks (all overpriced, of course!), and settled back into our seats in time for the action.
The match was entertaining with Radwańska getting off to a quick start. Kvitová regrouped but in the end Radwańska was too much. Radwańska ended up winning both sets 6-3, 6-2.
This marked the first time Kvitová had lost on an indoor court in two years – a stretch of 25 matches.
I really enjoyed watching Williams. She approached the match with an intensity that reminded me of my childhood watching Michael Jordan dominate the NBA.
The match was similar to the first one, with Williams jumping out to a quick lead only to see Kerber catch up. Williams then dominated the rest of the way. The match went to Williams 6-4, 6-1.
After the match, Williams was completely relaxed and all smiles as she graciously thanked the crowd for their support.
The beginning of the match was tense and competitive, but Sharapova was too much for Errani and easily won 6-3, 6-2.
A smiling Sharapova was cheered on by a raucous crowd of Russian supporters. After the match, she autographed some tennis balls and hit them into the crowd for some lucky spectators to take home.
Overall, we really enjoyed the entire evening. We didn’t get to see Victoria Azarenka, the top seed from Belarus, or 8th seeded Li Na of China, but it was a pleasure to see the other six world class talents in person. For me, I was most excited to see Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, and neither disappointed. I’ve always passively followed tennis, but after seeing it in person, I was so impressed that I’ve gained a new appreciation for the sport.