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Azarenka wins in Istanbul
Second seed Victoria Azarenka battled past Sara Errani in a lengthy opening match at the WTA Championships in Istanbul.
The first set alone of Azarenka's 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 victory took an hour and 28 minutes, with Errani leading 5-2 and serving for it three times only to lose out on a tie-break.
It was the closest the Italian had come to winning a set against Azarenka since her only victory back in 2008, but her efforts were not enough and it was no surprise that the Belarusian won the second a little easier.
It was still not entirely straightforward, though, with Azarenka looking rusty and hesitant until she finally got into her stride to win the final four games and the match after two hours and 14 minutes.
The 24-year-old had been on a three-match losing streak dating back to the US Open semi-finals more than a month ago.
A final defeat by Serena Williams in New York was followed by opening defeats in both Tokyo and Beijing, but a winning start to her campaign puts her in a good position to qualify for the semi-finals from the White Group.
Her remaining round-robin matches, against Jelena Jankovic on Wednesday and then Li Na, could well be tougher, while for Errani the question must be whether she will complete her fixtures.
The sixth seed, playing in the season-ending tournament at the Sinan Erdem Dome for the second year in a row, called the trainer for treatment to her right calf early in the second set and was clearly hampered.