WTA Championships in Istanbul

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.

2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

2012 WTA Championships

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.

Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu

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.

2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

2012 WTA Championships

The first match was between 4th seeded Agnieszka Radwańska of Poland and 6th seeded Petra Kvitová of the Czech Republic.

Agnieszka Radwanska in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Agnieszka Radwanska

Petra Kvitová in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Petra Kvitová

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.

Petra Kvitová in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Petra Kvitová

Agnieszka Radwanska in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Agnieszka Radwanska

This marked the first time Kvitová had lost on an indoor court in two years – a stretch of 25 matches.

Petra Kvitová and Agnieszka Radwanska in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Petra Kvitová and Agnieszka Radwanska

The second match was between 3rd seeded American Serena Williams and 5th seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany.

Serena Williams in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Serena Williams

Serena Williams in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Serena Williams

Angelique Kerber in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Angelique Kerber

I really enjoyed watching Williams. She approached the match with an intensity that reminded me of my childhood watching Michael Jordan dominate the NBA.

Serena Williams in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Serena Williams

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.

Angelique Kerber in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Angelique Kerber

 

After the match, Williams was completely relaxed and all smiles as she graciously thanked the crowd for their support.

Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber

The third and final match of the night pitted 2nd seeded Russian Maria Sharapova against 7th seeded Sara Errani of Italy. This was a rematch of the 2012 French Open Final.

Maria Sharapova in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Maria Sharapova

Sara Errani in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Sara Errani

The beginning of the match was tense and competitive, but Sharapova was too much for Errani and easily won 6-3, 6-2.

Sara Errani in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Sara Errani

Maria Sharapova in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Maria Sharapova

 

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.

Sara Errani and Maria Sharapova in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Sara Errani and Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova in the 2012 WTA Championships at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu in Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey

Maria Sharapova

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.

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